On mobile tech, and laptops, and technology in Africa

3 Responses

  1. hash says:

    I agree, it's businesses that generally provide lasting change in Africa, regardless of technology. That being said, there still needs to be the technologists and entrepreneurs who are creating things and trying to make them work. This does mean that some technologies do have to be "built for Africa" because their counterparts in the West don't fit (think bandwidth or electricity). It's why products like Maneno do have a chance.

    So, technologists have this quandary… We have to wait for said person to get that "glint in his eye" about using a technology before he is making money, but at the same time how does he get that glint without there first being a technology in place to get the glint from/through? They can't get that glint without seeing it, we can't make money or see it grow in usage, without building it with no revenue at first.

    This means that at the edge, the fringe, where you see Miquel from Maneno, Justin at Afrigator or me at Ushahidi, we're all doing stuff and talking about things that aren't really happening yet. We have to, because what we build is about the future, not just about the now. So, to us the debate over mobile's vs PC's is not only interesting, it's vital to understand, because this is what we are taking a risk on.

  2. Miquel says:

    Good write up of your on the ground observations, Theresa. You do fuel the fire that it is indeed a price driven issue in the here and now. And yes, I agree that will dictate a great deal of where it goes from here.

    One thing I want to mention about Maneno though, is that we aren't trying to have people switch from WordPress or Blogspot. I love both of these platforms for their own reasons and if they work from where you are for what you're doing, then that's great.

    Maneno is all about offering an alternative system that is focused on being the most accessible given the needs of the blogger in Sub Saharan Africa. Beyond localization, small footprint, and mobile access, our greatest challenge is going to be getting the word out to these new bloggers who may have been put off to the whole medium due to the issues that we're working to address. Those folks and anyone who wants to write about Africa are who we see as our main user base. So… if you bump in to any people looking to blog in Benin, see if they'd like to check out Maneno.

    Erik, always a pleasure.

  3. There is plenty of room for Maneno. With regard to form factors, computers will continue to get smaller. It's hard to say what will win out, but if it is mobile it will need to e rugged or ruggedized.

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