Email of the day (2)
Comment of the Day

July 16 2013

Commentary by David Fuller

Email of the day (2)

More on technologies for the developing world
"You and the Collective may be interested in these two articles. The first is the latest on the Aakash tablet. The other article gives greater insight into the future of this very cheap computing space..... Technologies like the Aakash tablet have unleashed a massive tidal wave of competition and investment in producing very cheap computing devices, and this undoubtedly will have profound impacts on life around the globe."

David Fuller's view Thank you for these articles which are greatly appreciated. The second one above: Power to the people: India's IT revolution, from The Australian Financial Review is a must read item if you are interested in this subject. Here is a futuristic sample:

To add to the increasing accessibility of technology and its benefits, India has launched an initiative to connect 250,000 villages via optical fibre cable. The fibre-optic lines will provide cheap, affordable internet. Regardless of whether the government delivers on these plans, India's cell phone carriers already provide affordable data plans. Newer versions of Datawind tablets, or "phablets" as they are colloquially referred to, have cell phone capabilities and come with unlimited web access for Rs.100 (US$1.75) per month.

India's population currently has around 900 million mobile phones, which typically cost $30 or more. When the cost of the "phablets" reaches this price point, they will undoubtedly become the replacement device for cell phones. I expect that India, because of tablets, will have more than 100 million new internet users in the next three years. This number will grow to more than 500 million within five years, and one billion by the end of the decade.

The Indian government has inadvertently started a revolution that will transform India and shake up the world. It has lowered the expected base price of tablet technologies to a range of $35 to $50. Chinese vendors are competing with Datawind to bring production costs below $35.

Cheap tablets will make it possible for farmers to watch weather reports, for village children to access MIT courseware, and for artisans to sell their goods online. They will also enable the development of Silicon Valley-style apps to transact commerce, play games, and manage transport schedules. Don't be surprised to see villagers developing apps that solve their unique problems.

The benefits of these tablets will be astonishing, not least in terms of education. However, the competition in manufacturing these devices is becoming even more cut throat. We have already seen the share prices for manufacturers of many IT products soar, only to drop back even more dramatically as they fall out of favour because their products are no longer leading in the accelerating rate of technological innovation.

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