[LINK] Internet for the Rest of the World: The Mobile Phone

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Tue Feb 7 08:14:24 AEDT 2012

The first Mobile Monday Sydney for 2012 was last night on education, 
VOIP and smarter dumb phones. I gave the first talk on "New Ways of 
Learning to Work: With E-books and E-Learning", this was followed by 
"VoIP via Mobile Phone: by Dan from VTalk. The last talk now under-way 
is by Mark from Binu on "How to Make a Feature Phone Smarter using the 

Binu uses the Amazon compute cloud to provide a virtual smart-phone 
server. They host "apps" in the cloud, to overcome the limited 
processing and storage capacity of non-smart phones. The interesting 
part of this is that Binu argue they have found a profitable business in 
providing a service to African customers. What I find interesting is 
that this same service could be used to provide education, via mobile 

Dan argues that these low cost phones, which are popular in developing 
nations are capable of providing the type of services currently though 
of as requiring a smart phone. This makes sense as most low cost phones 
thought of as "dumb" actually have a web browser built in, this is a WAP 
browser, which was intended to provide simple information services, but 
was overtaken by smart phones.

Binu's approach is similar to that used by Amazon for their Kindle Fire 
Tablet Computer. Kindle carry out processing of web content on their 
cloud computer server and then use the tablet computer essentially as a 
graphics terminal. This allows a lower cost lower power device to be 
sued and also reduces the amount of data being communicated (if the 
application is well designed). It happens I wrote a multi-part article 
about this for the Australian Computer Society Canberra Branch 
newsletter in 1991, which then lead to a Defence Department sponsored 
project. With the passage of time some of this has become easier, but 
other parts have become harder.

At question time the issue of security came up. As with Amazon's 
service, Binu's by its nature has access to more information that where 
a conventional web browser is used. Because the apps run on the server, 
the company could, if they wished to, have access to the internal 
information. Obviously, like any company, Binu is required to provide 
information demanded by national security authorities, under national laws.

More in my blog at: 

Tom Worthington FACS CP, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards

Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Research School of Computer Science,
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/

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