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One point of view, taking note of sundry "cool" things that affect-- or could affect-- the education business.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Gates Unveils "FonePlus," the NextThing with TwoCaps and NoSpace

With their own horse now in the race, Microsoft has joined the illustrious ranks of players in the game of computing for the "poor, huddled masses, yearning to browse." Or, more accurately, "Many people, including us, have been looking at different ways to lower the cost" of computing, according to Craig Mundie, the Chief Research and Strategy Officer (CRASO?) at Microsoft. "Clearly one of the things that is just booming globally is the use of the cell phone." This according to CNet News (article here).

Chairman Gates (the reknowned champion for consumer-friendly businesses!) has said, here in this very blog (OK, he was quoted here, he didn't actually sit for an interview), that he believes that smartphones are the way to bring computing and connectivity to the masses. Now he's unveiled FonePlus, which apparently will do just that (but obviously not help with spelling skillz).

Specs are short for now, but the gist is that Microsoft is backing a play to put Windows CE into the hands of the developing world. Ostensibly a challenge to the OLPC and/or Intel's EduWise (another SuperSpeller!), the FonePlus will deliver reliable (Windows CE?!), affordable (no price announced), portable (how good is the battery?) technology to the burgeoning mobile phone community. Gates seems to feel that cellular waves are more ubiquitous than WiFi, thus making the FonePlus more apt to bring users online (are there really 3G networks outside of Bangalore?).

Time will tell whether this concept-- or any of these concepts-- will truly unleash the developing world onto the internets, but a variety of approaches is more likely to have "the" right answer, n'est-ce pas?

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