The Economist just recently published an article on the growing power of the mobile platform to bring the Internet to developing economies. While Nick Negroponte and his colleagues at OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) captured the world's attention with the concept of the $100 PC, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the PC is a far inferior platform to the mobile phone for bringing the Internet to the world's least developed nations. Instead of thinking about the $100 PC, let's start thinking about the $1 handset which is capable of accessing the Internet.
But the PC Internet is not built to be viewed via the mobile phone. And while mobile browser companies such as Access , Opera and others do amazing things in bridging the gap between these two platforms, the onus is clearly on site owners and content developers to re-think their approach to content and service delivery, creating sites specifically designed for the mobile phone and not the PC.
Such developments are already underway. And what is most exciting about all of this, is that the future of the mobile industry is clearly aligned with developing economies. And as we continue to study the impact of mobile services and solutions on consumer behavior here at the Mobile Consumer Lab, we are regularly applying these lessons to student business ideas in developing economies within this region and around the world.
If you'd like to get involved in our efforts this year, please feel free to let me know!