If Dean Kamen and Nokia have their way, the answer just may be "yes"
By Abby Seiff and Paul AdamsPosted 09.19.2008 at 5:09 pm 6 Comments
If you live in the United States it can be difficult to understand the role mobile phone technology plays across the globe. Here, you may use your phone for calls and messaging, perhaps for some computing lite, but likely little more. In Senegal, however, farmers are using phones to track crop prices, in Japan, writers are SMSing whole novels, and in Sweden, they're texting to apply for instant loans. An app that lets you kill time on the subway, this is not.
Within a year and a half, half the world will use cellphones, predict analysts, and with the bulk of new users emerging from developing nations, the question of what phones can do for their owners has never before had such potentially world-changing answers.
Enter Nokia and Dean Kamen.
What is the Internet? Seems simple, but in truth that's an increasingly loaded question; one that we can answer only by bringing our own cultural values and historical background to the table.
In short, as long as we're working from the same baseline, we're good. Add an alternate set of norms into the experience and the definition grows messier. Add in a different language (with its linguistic consequences), platform, or even pay scheme and the idea of a singular Internet becomes unattainable. So where does that leave those of us hoping to understand the future of the Internet.
This week everyone's at the Web 2.0 Expo at New York City's Javits Center. Abby reported on a technology that makes your computer talk to you; I met a couple of brothers who were at the show to promote their invention, wherein you talk to your computer.
I am falling down the rabbit hole here at the Web 2.0 Expo. It's easy to spend hours wandering the floor, through aisles after aisles filled with "business solutions." A shipping container filled with servers: Why not? Twitter for businesses? Sounds good. I can assure you there is no other place where you will hear the words "scalability," "modular" and "sticky" thrown around with such gleeful abandon.
Which makes stumbling upon a cool-for-the-rest-of-us product or service that much more satisfying.
Day two at the Web 2.0 Expo, and the name of the game is, without a doubt, social media. To hell with professional editors and publishers; the new world Web order is built on the backs of the people. Or so every speaker and every wide-eyed business owner frantically scribbling notes here would have us believe. All we have to learn is how to game wisdom of the masses and we're gold
But is it that simple?