Friday, January 24, 2014

Wired: A Hackathon Where 2G-Era Tech Is King

Wired reports:
if you want to make smartphone applications that work for most people (not just most Americans), you have to think slow. Smartphones and the Internet are booming in the developing world. ... But the mobile Internet in the developing world is a fundamentally different beast than the one we typically talk about. That includes everything from the devices people use to to the plans they purchase, and the networks they run them on.
The most common smartphone in the world is, according to Ericsson, the K-Touch W 619. It has a single core processor, and a 3.5-inch display with 480 x 320 resolution. When you hear about the next billion people going online, that’s the kind of device they’re going to use to do it. What’s more, they’re going to run that phone on networks where traffic moves at kilobytes per second, not megabytes. In Ethiopia, for example, only 23 percent of network traffic can hit download speeds of greater than 1 Mbps; a mere 4 percent can upload at that speed. For bandwidth-hogging apps, this poses multiple problems. The first is that they may just not work. When phones are constantly trying to suck or push data to a network, and encountering problems doing so, it also eats up battery life. That’s a much bigger problem than simply needing to recharge your iPhone twice a day.
With luck, these app developers will also optimize their apps to use less CPU, less battery and less bandwidth on the high-powered phones used in the US. In the developing world, these issues may be business-crushing problems, but they're really annoying everywhere else too.

No comments: