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Nokia’s handset re-configuration May 15, 2007

Posted by François in nokia, re-configuration.
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public phone operator, GhanaNokia has announced the launch of new handsets aimed at “entry markets” (a euphemism for poor countries.) These phones include several new features: “phone-sharing” lets up to five people keep separate phonebooks on the single phone they share, “cost monitoring” allows users to pre-set how much (time or money) they want to spend on a call, automatically cutting it off when that limit is reached. These should help: in her fieldwork on public phone operators in Ghana, Araba Sey observed countless arguments -and occasional fistfights- when operators and their customers can’t agree on how long a call really lasted.

It is particularly noteworthy that these new features result from Nokia’s careful observation of the innovative practices invented by phone users in developing countries, as they appropriated a technology initially designed for much richer customers. In re-configuring its phones to support these practices, Nokia creates a useful new technology platform, which we expect will be enthusiastically adopted. It will be interesting to see how this new platform gets further appropriated…

(picture by Araba Sey: public phone operator in Ghana)