Do We Really Need A $100 Laptop?
People in developing countries already have a low price portable computer - it just has a smaller screen and makes a ringing noise. Hey, you can even buy a hand-crank to charge it. Sure, the computers have bigger screens - but if many Americans can work from their smart-phone away from their office PC, why can't the Indian poor do their homework on their handsets there? Maybe we should be handing out phones not laptops?
The mobile phone is one of the most important pieces of technology spreading across the developing world – and it's changing the way people, communities and business connect with each other in these areas. Outside the US people use phones in a way many Americans can't really comprehend. In June we argued in the piece The Three Region Theory For Mobile Phones that people have a different relationship to their phones and PCs depending on which one was introduced first to the mass market. Where phones appeared before the PC – as in many developing parts of the world – the phones become the predominant access to the internet – and in some ways the de-facto computer.