[Homestead] Remote internet access via cellphone
bobford79 at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 5 11:43:29 EST 2008
I don't know if this twechnology for people in remote places in the third world will be a helpful homestead application for remote areas. It sounds like it might be similar to what Marie uses, I still don't know how a person types and read emails or searches the internet on a phone, but I suppose they do..............................................
DECEMBER 5, 2008 Poorer Nations Go Online on Cellphones
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Using cellphones to surf the Internet is booming in emerging markets, showing how countries with poor fixed-line telecommunications have become important drivers of growth for mobile-technology companies.
Opera Software ASA, a Norwegian maker of Internet browsers for mobile devices, says its strongest customer growth is in places like Indonesia, Egypt and Russia. AdMob Inc., a San Francisco company that sends five billion ads to Internet-enabled mobile handsets each month, says Asia overtook North America in October as its largest regional market. Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy, is the company's second-biggest market after the U.S., accounting for a quarter of its global ad traffic.
"For a lot of people in emerging markets, the mobile phone will be the primary way of accessing the Internet," says Tony Cripps, a London-based wireless-software analyst at Ovum, a technology consulting company owned by Datamonitor PLC.
Indonesia is a nation of more than 17,000 islands, with many areas lacking high-speed cable broadband connections, DSL lines or even regular phone lines for dial-up service. Many people have turned instead to accessing the Internet with their mobile phone in the past year as falling costs, increased bandwidths and improvements in browser technology have made it quicker to surf from a cellphone. For many, browsing on a handheld device is a cheaper alternative to buying a PC or paying for home Internet service.
Anita Rachman, a 23-year-old secretary in Jakarta last year began surfing social-networking sites like Friendster and checking Internet-based email on her midrange Sony-Ericsson phone. Her bill: $25 a month, about the same as a home Internet connection. "And I'm literally online 24/7," Ms. Rachman said.
Djohansyah Saleh, a public-relations executive at a Jakarta-based company, says wireless connection speeds have improved markedly in the past year, making mobile Internet faster than many land-line connections. "The mobile Internet service is better now," he says.
Wireless-network operators and handset manufacturers like Nokia Corp., the world's largest by sales, have long viewed emerging nations as crucial for growth. Now, the evolving use of phones for data transfer -- not just calls -- means mobile-technology firms can increase revenues per subscriber, which are much lower than in the developed world, analysts say.
Already, Asia is leading the way in mobile data, analysts say. China Mobile Ltd., Asia's leading wireless carrier by subscribers, made 25% of total revenues from mobile data in 2007, according to a Morgan Stanley report earlier this year. In comparison, for AT&T Corp., the U.S.'s largest operator, the share was 18%.
In developed markets, the focus is on so-called smartphones, high-end handsets like Apple Inc.'s iPhone, which cost hundreds of dollars and have browsers with functions similar to PCs, including video and advanced graphics. But in poorer nations, many consumers want to use phones that cost around $100 to do tasks such as accessing email and social-networking sites.
The growing demand is an opportunity for developers of popular mobile Web browsers like Opera, Purple Labs SA of France, which recently acquired Openwave Systems Inc.'s browser business, and Japan's Access Co.
Until recently, Web browsers on a cellphone generally have been slow and difficult to navigate. But the latest technology, which compresses files via servers before sending them to the handheld device, allows quicker Internet access.
The global market for desktop browsers remains much larger than for mobile versions. Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer has a 71% share of the total browser market, followed by Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox with 20% and Apple's Safari at 7%, according to Net Applications, a California-based Web statistics firm.
But the mobile-browser market is surging. High-performance browsers on cellphones globally are expected to jump to 700 million by 2013 from 76 million last year.
Annual revenues to browser makers from handset manufacturers for the installation of mobile browsers on cellphones are estimated to reach $492 million by 2013, says ABI Research, a market-research company. The mobile-browser market will likely generate more than that as companies also collect fees from tie-ups with search engines and for offering data support to network operators, analysts say.
Opera says it has 21 million active users of its Opera Mini web browser, a free product it launched in 2005 with emerging markets in mind; some 200,000 people download the software daily. When a user requests an Internet page through Opera Mini, it is sent via a server in Norway, which shrinks the data by 90%, reducing costs and making it easier to surf on cheap handsets. "It was designed to get on all low-end phones," says Rolf Assev, Norway-based chief strategy officer at Opera. "We expect this market to really take off."
The product has opened the Internet to many Indonesians who can't afford a $1,000 laptop, says Hendra Kendro, who runs a technology consulting firm in Jakarta. He says the commodities boom has raised incomes among people in remote areas, and many are using mobile phones to download entertainment like games and to visit gambling and social sites.
—Yayu Yuniar contributed to this article.
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