Inside Nairobi, the Next Palo Alto?
“While engineers in the United States lavish attention on expensive phones that boast laptoplike features, in Kenya there are 10 million low-end phones. Millions more are used elsewhere in Africa. Enhancements to such basic phones can be experimented with cheaply in Nairobi, and because designers are weaned on narrow bandwidth, they are comfortable writing compact programs suited to puny devices.”
“The prospect of marrying low-end mobile phones with the Internet is earning Nairobi notice from outsiders, who wonder whether the city might emerge as a test-bed for tomorrowâ€™s technologies. One intriguing possibility is broadcasting local television programs on mobile phones.”
Last summer I conducted research on technology use in Nairobi, Kenya. Attached is a published paper about my work. Basically I argue that you have to account for religion’s pervasivenesses in everyday life when developing technology for Kenya and other low-income countries.