Friday, February 03, 2006

Cell vs Laptop debate reviewed

The other days I was reading this article that I read on MIT's Review newsletter. It discusses whether the cell phone or the $100 laptop will help developing nations breaking the "digital devide".

Living in a what is considered a developing nation (Argentina) I can see all around me the pervasivness of the cell phone in peoples lives, realying on it not only to speak, but also to chat in chatrooms and take picture and upload them in their personal fotoblog (Argentina and Brasil have one of the highest clients in Thus I strongly believe that the cheap laptop is no contender to the cell phone.

But still, as in the past, the cell phone makers and more importantly the telco companies are blind to see the potential for their product. Their industry major concern is that these new technologies will eat into their fat voice business model.

It was not long ago that telcos where afraid to interconnect their SMS systems and exploit it in fearing that people will speak less on their phone. Once they did, they realize the inmense potential of this new market. In fact, in Argentina this milestone happened about 20 months ago and cell phone sales has skyrocketed since. No the telcos are crazy offering chat, ringtones and stuff...Now comes MMS: it is still too expensive to be useful and interconetion problem exists. And I haven't even touched the subject about data transfer that still is in it infancy and incredibly expensive because they are afraid that once you'll be able to install Skype on your phone the game's over.

And then there is the problem with the cell phone itself: incompatible OS and programming languages (Java vs. BREW vs Java Flavors..) that ressembles the PC industry in the 70's.

Unfortunately until this problems are not solved I don't think the cell phone stand a chance in becoming the next PC revolution.

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