One of the major shift is not the growth of mobile phones, but its transformations to a multi-purpose tool and its ubiquitous nature. Being it a calculator, a translator or a broadcasting, sensing or analyzing medium – the mobile phone will affect much more daily life than personal computers did. Antonella Pastore looks at the latest ITU-report and asks "It’s a mobile world… and the end of the Web as we know it?"
The potentials are various and if we want to understand them and think out-of-the-box, we have to exclude the traditional approaches through personal computers and the Internet. But the difficulty is to find out how mobile phones will be used in the future. Nathan Eagle points it out rightly: "people are going to do work on their mobile phones in Africa, we just don't know what it is yet."
To come a step closer, I have listed some innovative examples for mobile phones from around the world.
Join Us! A mobile phone software management for enthusiasts (PDF) around ”flash mobs” interested in Performing Social Tasks. This application is developed on Android, an open source system introduced by Google, where you can find networks through your mobile for different causes like environment and interact solely through your mobile phone.
GoodGuide provides iPhone users access to the world's largest and most reliable sources of information on health, environmental and social performance of everyday products and companies.
Fixmystreet.com offers also an iPhone version, where you can now record a problem by using its camera and GPS, ready for checking and submitting to the council.
WideNoise is an iPhone and iPod Touch application that samples decibel noise levels, and displays them on a worldwide interactive map (noise pollution).
Escorio is on of the winners of the Google Android developer challenge that tracks your mobile carbon footprint. "Reduce and offset it. Inspire others to do the same."
Ushahidi "a platform that allows anyone to gather distributed data via SMS, email or web and visualize it on a map or timeline", is (will be) also developed for an iPhone for complete access.
Scientists from the University of California hacked a mobile phone to analyze blood, detect disease.
GeoChat: Emergent Group Communication at the Edge of the Network The application is developed by Instedd. They also have a great news service around health and humanitarian work and technology.
Does it happen everywhere?
But is it really happening everywhere? Isn't the iPhone just a tool for the northern hemisphere? Yes, and even faster in Asia and it might be even adopted sooner in developing countries. Opera has some interesting monthly statistics in this regard. For example Jamaican access via mobile web, has already exceeded the access via PCs. Would you have guessed that 80% of mobile web traffic to the BBC comes form Africa? Also, in China students save their money to share a smart phone with flat-rate to do their research. Now, there is even an sms based browser for mobile phones.
Lastly, I wonder how different innovations around the mobile phone will be? I think it will be even faster than on PCs, because mobile allow far more ways to hack it.