November 14th, 2007


Third World Tech Chic

My blackberry died in the rain last Monday (November 6th). Between the rain and the freezing temperatures, maybe I pushed too hard, and some buttons failed. It works, except I can't read messages. It works, but I can't call.

Since then, I've embraced the new tech wave: Third World Tech Chic. There has been an impressive amount of development on bringing technology "to the rest of the world". Billions of people have never used a cell phone; billions have never used a laptop. Eventually, they might need to. There are millions of people whose lives would be materially improved if they owned either or both.

Developing hardware for the third world seems to demand optimizing on four objectives: cost, power, durability, design. Everything else -- features, branding, moving parts -- may be eliminated. This is the elegance of the ipod, without the brand premium. What's not to love? Except that selling hardware for the third world seems to demand making first world availability limited.

I bought a Motorola FONE F3 and an OLPC XO-1.

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