13 November 2008

Nokia Life Tools: designed to help emerging markets

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Nokia Life Tools for farmer
Last week, Nokia launched its Nokia Life Tools (backgrounder), a range of innovative agriculture information and education services designed especially for rural and small town communities in emerging markets.

From the press release:
“Nokia Life Tools helps overcome information constraints and provides farmers and students with timely and relevant information. These services use an icon-based, graphically rich user interface that comes complete with tables and which can even display information simultaneously in two languages. Behind this rich interface, SMS is used to deliver the critical information to ensure that this service works wherever a mobile phone does, without the hassles of additional settings or the need for GPRS coverage. Nokia plans to launch the service in the first half of 2009 with the Nokia 2323 classic and the Nokia 2330 classic as the lead devices in India, and expand it across select countries in Asia and Africa later in 2009.”

Ken Banks, creator of FrontlineSMS, granted it a long article on PC World (copied on his blog) is enthusiastic:

“What’s particularly interesting from a technical standpoint is Nokia’s snub of GPRS in favor of SMS. With data connectivity still patchy at the best of times, and confusion surrounding configuration and price plans, text messaging once again demonstrates its ability to remain relevant.

So, what next? Nokia develops a mobile payment platform and embeds the client into all of its emerging market handsets? Imagine: A single company controlling the entire mobile technology value chain would make interesting viewing. It could well be the answer to the age old fragmentation problems suffered by the “social mobile” and ICT4D space, but would this give the Finnish giant Google-esque powers?

These are interesting times. And, for once, it’s the users at the bottom of the pyramid who stand to gain the most.”

Clinton Jeff from DarlaMack.com, also posted a big write-up.

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