Moore's Law Comes to Africa
This technology is allowing Africa to leapfrog the 20th century and go directly to the 21st.
Some of the most amazing stories I covered at ZDNet in the last decade concerned Africans and mobile phones.
Two come to mind right away.
- African women would buy mobile phones and calling plans, then go into the bush and sell calls to other women in remote villages. This gave the villages access to city markets.
- African doctors were performing ultrasounds on patients using mobile phones and scanners, sending the files to city hospitals for processing and having the results read back by text.
As my former colleague Joe McKendrick at Smartplanet reported last week, smartphones are taking this to a whole new level.
He quotes a study from the World Bank showing that 5 billion phones are now in the developing world, that three in four people there have access to one, resulting in new industries that barely exist here.
Consider that African woman again. In 2006, she probably carried a Nokia(NOK) Symbian or other feature phone. Today she can afford to buy a smartphone based on Android. In 2006, she had to return to her home village to recharge the phone. Today she can buy a solar charger, like those on the Web site, ThePocketSolution, and stay in the field.
Cell phone towers are also going wireless, as Inhabitat notes. Wireless towers and wireless phones mean broadband can go everywhere.