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November 6, 2008

The bottom of the pyramid

USA – With OPK earlier in the week highlighting how tech blogs largely ignore the work the likes of Nokia does in developing countries, and me throwing my tuppenethworth in yesterday, PC World in the US has emerged as something of an antidote to the oft overlooked subject of developing world tech. In a piece on PC, Ken Banks from gives us his perspective on this week’s announcement. And, whilst very positive towards Nokia’s moves and ambitions, he isn’t the least bit one-sided.

Ken kicks off by describing Nokia as “most active handset manufacturer
in the developing world” before going through each of the
announcements. It’s not the new devices that interests Ken, but the
services and the technology being used to deploy them.

Talking about Nokia Life Tools, Ken highlights the use of SMS as a continually useful technology

“What’s particularly interesting from a technical standpoint is Nokia’s
snub of GPRS in favor of SMS. With data connectivity still patchy at
the best of times, and confusion surrounding configuration and price
plans, text messaging once again demonstrates its ability to remain

Over a year ago Ken was talking about the opportunity at this end of
the market and his post on The Digital Divide is well worth a few
minutes of your time, as relevant now as it was when he wrote it (if not
more so!). I like to think Nokia is going some way to helping bridge
that digital divide and this week’s announcements reaffirm that view
for me.

I think though Ken sums the whole thing up very neatly:

“These are interesting times. And, for once, it’s the users at the bottom of the pyramid who stand to gain the most.”

I couldn’t agree more. What say you?