High-End Device Trial

"Bringing the World Wide Web to the Village"
As part of the High-End Device Trial, select Village Phone Operators (VPOs) received a GPRS enabled device that allows users to access the web. In this free-form experiment, the AppLab distributed high-end camera phones, PDAs, and netbooks to investigate how VPOs and their clients use the devices and to assess the potential for new business models enabled by high-end devices.

Local university students help the AppLab document the types of information people access, their expectations of the new technology, and how use patterns associated with the high-end devices compare with those of traditional phones.The AppLab also tracks how much and how often VPOs charge for the new internet services.

Village Phone Operators are using the devices in a variety of ways to enhance their existing businesses. One VPO has used his camera phone to document his pineapple drying techniques and show photos and video demonstrating these techniques to other fruit producers in the region. Other VPOs have set up shared access netbooks to provide access to the internet.

The trials have established that VPOs can use the web access and multimedia capabilities of the devices to offer new services to clients and that there is substantial demand for these types of services. In addition, user preferences, such as the need for better charging solutions and a preference for local languages, have emerged during the trial.