Mobile computing is a modern phenomenon that allows for remote working irrespective of where you are located. In the developed world it has take root and has now become an essential service. There are European countries that have enacted laws that indicate that access to broadband services is a basic right for their citizens.
Money is the driving force behind this access. In order to join the mobile computing age you will need to expend a certain amount of money in setting up and maintaining your system. For people in the developed countries these are peanuts and therefore it is only laziness that prevents them from joining the mobile computing age.
If we look at the equipment that you need, it is relatively cheap if you are being paid a decent wage. Higher purchase schemes also mean that less well off families can have access to personal computers through a loan from credit agencies. However as the parable goes, those who have will get more and those without will have the little they have taken away. Credit agencies tend to offer loans to people who are already relatively well off and can afford to pay the loan very easily. Those poor people who do not have a very strong credit rating will not be offered these opportunities.
Challenges of Cost
If we are in a situation whereby poor people can only access mobile computing if they buy the equipment outright, then we are necessarily preventing them from enjoying the full benefits of the technology. Moreover the rich people tend to have newer and newer versions of the technology so that they are in effect changing computers like they change clothes. One way of benefiting from this abundance is for richer countries to send their used computers to developing countries. This can increase access but comes with problems of its own.
Environmentalists have argued the importation of old computer equipment degrades the environment and will eventually cause serious problems for the developing countries. As a result some of these countries have started enacting legislation that specifically bars the importation of old computer equipment. This might sound like an illogical response because it denies people access to what is a wonderful technological development. However we must also understand the environmental protection is a serious matter that cannot just be put on the wayside.
The other problem with importation of used equipment is that it is almost always outdated. If we are talking about mobile computing, then we are talking about an industry that is constantly evolving. It is therefore rather silly to expect that old equipment will give people access to modern techniques.
The other alternative is to accept that the developing and developed countries will grow at different rates. Under this paradigm efforts to get some sort of level playing field will be abandoned in favor of containment and limited intervention. This would be a sad day indeed because it seems to me that the developing countries deserve a shot at mobile computing.