Mobile diary: real mobile innovation

I love stories like this one, from the latest Technology Review.

An Anti-iPad for India

Suneet Singh Tuli, the man behind the ultracheap Aakash 2 tablet, says the West doesn’t understand mobile business in the developing world.

Key quote:

Nobody focuses on the problem of creating apps for somebody whose monthly income is $200. Those people are not part of the computer age or the Internet age; most of them are not literate. So we run app competitions in India to try to get people thinking from that perspective. The winner of our last competition was a group of students who designed a commerce app for “fruit walas,” the guys who run around with carts selling fruits and vegetables. These students created a graphically intuitive way of running a small vegetable business.

There are something like five million fruit walas in India, so if you had an app for them, there could be a lot of money to be made.

This is a refreshing alternative to so much of what we see in the tech world, so accurately described by George Packer in his recent New Yorker article about the life and times of Silicon Valley:

It suddenly occurred to me that the hottest tech start-ups are solving all the problems of being twenty years old, with cash on hand, because that’s who thinks them up.

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