A Hindu monk on a cell phone. Cellphones are almost ubiquitous in most parts of the developing world (photo courtesy: w3.org)
At the X PRIZE, particularly within in the Global Development sphere, we've been considering weighing and considering several options on how and which area to build our prize in. I've quickly learned about the power of wireless/cellular technologies and believe that they are the most powerful platform of the now and the future, particularly for the poor. They have and will continue to "level the playing field" between access to resources that the developed world has enjoyed and the lack of it in the developing world.
MobileActive is an amazing blog that gives you an idea of how powerful wireless technology applications have been to the developing world; how they are leveraging these platforms, in even the simplest ways, to access information, goods, and services in a way they couldn't before. In fact, we in the developed world are underutilizing what we have so freely at our disposal.
WhiteAfrican gives a great rundown on cellphone stats in Africa.
The Economist also took a look at the same phenomenon in their article "The Meek Shall Inherit the Web."
The developing world missed out on much of the excitement of the initial web revolution, the dotcom boom and Web 2.0, largely because it did not have an internet infrastructure. But developing countries may now be poised to leapfrog the industrialised world in the era of the mobile web. [...]