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Monday, January 30, 2006

Bill Gates : Cheap Smartphones As Computers

Engadget reports that both Gates and Microsoft CTO Craig J. Mundie talked up the idea of a specially designed smartphone that could be connected to a TV and keyboard, turning it into a full-fledged computer. Mundie highlighted that everyone is going to have a cellphone. Come to think of it, the cell phone is the platform as against the laptop – the no.of cellphones exceed the number of laptops,potentially at about two billion people with each other. Some concerns about the service provider knowing all the content indeed exists – but what would one do with so much of content.Google also seems to recognize the increasing importance of mobiles. Google talk is now available for mobiles. The key thing to note here is that both require that huge infrastructure like electricity , communication be setup prior to this happening. That’s another impetus for expediting setup of infrastructure in developing nations. This could direct question the model of the low cost PC's

We have covered numerous examples of mobile phone being used innovatively for routine usages: mobiles as tracking agents, mobile as the internet platform, mobile TV coming of age, mobile suica phones in Japanese railway, more emails sent through mobiles than PC’s in Japan.

Philip Greenspun was amongst the early proponents of the idea of making mobile phones as home computers. As he sees it, a mobile phone has substantially all of the computing capabilities desired by a large fraction of the public and he raises the question,why then would someone want to go to the trouble of installing and maintaining a personal computer (PC). Evidence this can work: Millions of Japanese consumers whose only home computing device is an iMode phone, providing them with text messaging, Web pages, and various social and commercial services. Pointing out that the combination of the phone and appliance is more powerful than a standard PC in some ways, typical uses could be things like : The physical phone plus a PIN number serves as a secure key identifying the customer and a means of billing the customer, as being tried in Japan and parts of Europe as a payment method in shops, for vending machines, and in dealing with government. Someone engaged in online shopping with the phone/Appliance combo should not need to enter credit card data, shipping address, etc. every time he or she buys something. Similarly subscription services can be added to and dropped from the customer's phone bill without the customer having to remember additional username/password combinations. I agree that the best way to push through this problem is to make the Appliances free or very low cost with a service agreement, the same way that carriers have managed to sell hundreds of thousands of expensive smart phones.

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