Friday, December 22, 2006

Low-cost laptops

Reaching already Christmas and New Year’s time, while everybody rushes to big shopping malls to buy the last-minute presents, we can take a look to this news about a laptop that will be sold for 100$!

As you can see in the article, they’re called the ‘green computer’, and it can be used as a normal laptop or as an electronic book. First models are expected to be manufactured in February. MIT and United Nations are supporting the project, and also several high tech companies showed interest on it. Some different questions come to my mind at this moment: after the manufacturing, how do you make that these laptops reach the places that need this? Is all this initiative just a tactic that some companies carry out to get people’s attention? Here comes the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility that refers to corporate activities that respond to their responsibility towards the society and how they can contribute to social actions based on their capabilities. So ho much commitment can we expect from all the organizations involved in this project?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Back to the communications future

Push to Talk (PTT) is a wireless technology that enables peer to peer communications similarly to a walkie-talkie. Do you remember or ever used one? Personally, I remember it as a toy when you receive the walkie-talkie for Christmas for example. Actually they’re initial wireless communications, replacing the rudimentary system made of two plastic glasses and a thread, which could represent our wired communications toy.

PTT is normally a half-duplex (one way) system that allows instant communications between systems, using the carrier’s packet network (actually a VoIP solution is one of the alternatives). It means that you’re only allowed to talk when no one else is doing so, and while pressing the button of your terminal. After all the fancy cell phones with new capabilities that flood the market, don’t you think that this service is like coming back some years ago to ages where you couldn’t contact your friends when they were out of their homes? Anyway PTT is working and it has already been launched in different countries.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Today's library of Alexandria

One of the biggest undertakings of Google is to digitize the books and documents from the most important libraries around the world. This is in accordance with their vision of organizing all the information in the world and making it accessible. Today, only 15 % of the information worldwide is available on the internet, less than what you expected?

The application behind this is called “Google Book Search”. However this is a huge task and not free of complications. Imagine taking ancient printings and manage to scan and convert them into digital documents. But this is also an initiative that aims to give people in less developed countries the possibility to accede to information that maybe otherwise couldn’t because they don’t have a library close to them. And with a computer and a click, you can do it now. But you may think: how Google does business out of this, and are they entering traditional book sellers business? More than that, they’re re-directing traffic to their sites and all this is just quite aligned with their vision stated above. What is next for Google?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Pay wireless

Why mobile commerce (m-commerce) is not boosting and is not being adopted by most users? Cell phone penetration is being very high, sometimes over 100%. So, why users don't really trust on using it instead of credit or debit cards? Well, is it a matter of trust? Security is one of the reasons, but today's mobile networks are quite secure at least like a credit card payment system. Another issue is the amount of places where you can pay with the phone, still not very extended... Also we can talk about the ease of use of this payment method. Is it really easy for not tech-friendly users?

But actually I'd say that one of the main problems is the small involvement of the companies in the sector. There are the shops and the banks, as well as card issuers, and apart from this we have the service enablers. Maybe there are too many players? The key question: would you be eager to pay using your phone, and why?

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