The cost of equipment can affect the development of mobile computing within less affluent communities. Obviously this will be a cause of concern for all those who hope to improve the access to modern technology for all people in the world. The industry has not yet addressed the issue of cost with the seriousness that I believe it deserves.
Instead what we have got is hesitation and good words with no accompanying deeds. If the mobile computing industry is to sustain its current growth levels, the issues of cost have to be discussed openly and candidly. There also has to be a solution that does not just emanate from government but also involves the major players in the industry who are enjoying record profits.
Take for example the decision to purchase a laptop. We all know that it is a wonderful device that helps people to access mobile computing but the reality is that most people cannot afford the upgrade. This means that even if they saw the value of the laptop and were able to use, the economic attachments would prevent them for accessing it.
If you are looking for reasons why the technological sector seems limited to the few, then this is a good example of what happens. Apart from the technical specifications, there will be other essential aspects that will increase the cost and take the laptop out of the reach of many ordinary citizens. To me this is unacceptable because it hinders the democratization of technology.
Schemes to deal with cost
There are various imaginative schemes that have been developed in order to see whether the costs of the mobile computing equipment can be brought down. For example there are computer sharing schemes within the developing communities which allows for communal access to this vital resource. At the same time the intervention of government seems to be the deciding factor as to whether such a scheme will succeed or fail. Therefore if government is unable to assist then the mobile computing revolution will have to remain within the richer communities.
Companies such as Dell have come up with credit agreements that mean that mobile computing can become a reality for many people who are expected to. These are down with the compliance of banks as well as other financial institutions. This is a worthwhile contribution to the development of mobile computing but the credit check tends to exclude the poor people no matter what the intention is. Further the credit facilities are only available to people who may not necessarily need them to access the mobile technology revolution.
The final idea that has been brought forward is that of second had computers and other equipment. While I accept that this can work, the ultimate result of such a development is that poor communities will continue to be second class and will only receive things that the richer people no longer want or need. If you want to get a world class mobile computing infrastructure this is the wrong way to go about it.