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April 29, 2008

NOKIA DESIGN EVENT: Everyone connected

LONDON, England – The United Nations wants half of the world connected
through telecommunications by 2015. That’s one hell of an ambition, but
when you understand what it means to people, and countries to have the
things we take for granted, you’ll see why.

Rhys Newman gave us some fascinating insight on how the world is right now, and how things are changing is having, and will continue to have a profound impact. Today, there are two billion people in the world who are living on less than $2 per day.

In some parts of the world, you can buy mobile airtime in units of less than 1Euro. Connecting developing countries via mobile, where communities don’t have the luxury of newspapers or the radio can have incredible effect. It’s already proven that if you give 10 people out of every 100 a mobile phone, the GDP of that country goes up by 1 per cent. These are startling figures. We’re talking about putting food on tables and more importantly reducing child mortality rates. Mobiles matter.

In some countries, experiencing the Internet via mobile will be the first time they’ve been exposed to information outside their community and in most cases, the first time they’ve been exposed to the Internet.

But if you can buy airtime for less than 1Euro and daily wages are less than $2 per day, how do you create a device for that market? What does it look like, what kind of functionality is on board? In place where electricity doesn’t exist yet, how do you keep it powered? These are just some of the questions the Future Product Design team are asking, and searching for the answers to.

Here’s hoping they find them soon.

Photo from Wolfgangstaudt

Nokia design