Qualcomm Offering Up A BYO Screen Internet Terminal For Developing Nations

from the interesting-ideas dept

Over the years, there have been many different attempts to bring back the old school terminal-mainframe computing paradigm with various internet terminals, but for the most part, they've failed to catch on. More recently, with the growth of various internet application suites, the concept is starting to seem a bit more viable, and the rise of super cheap "netbooks" have taken advantage of that. Qualcomm is apparently looking to take this a step further, with an attempt to basically turn any screen into an internet terminal using 3G connections in developing countries.

Qualcomm, obviously, makes money wherever there's more mobile data usage, so it has every incentive to create new ways to get more people online. The article is a bit short on details, but it sounds like Qualcomm will be offering up a small device that can easily connect to certain televisions or computer monitors, and connect them to the internet. The idea is that someone with one of these devices can turn an existing screen into an internet terminal, without having to go purchase a computer or netbook or whatever. As an idea, it's intriguing, but as with all of these things, it's the execution that really matters. And, my guess is that the folks who already have screens that would work with such a device, are more likely to already have other means of internet access already.

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  • identicon
    Stander, 13 Nov 2008 @ 8:26pm

    Not for everyone

    How does the dumb terminal connect to the server, thru Qualcomm of course. Monthly connection fee = ?

    I do not see how this would be economical, even if 100% of your computer needs were online. Free services, for how long ?

    I would not trust online apps with a plug nickel, but that's me. Others might find it useful.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jake, 13 Nov 2008 @ 8:47pm

    I wouldn't be so sure, actually. I don't know how many people will honestly never need to use a computer for anything except email, instant messaging or whatever, but give it the ability to save and open downloaded files and one of these combined with a good-sized external hard drive might be a reasonable alternative to a media centre PC, depending on what kind of data plan was on offer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andy, 13 Nov 2008 @ 8:48pm

    Made me think

    of my first computer, the vic 20! I learned to program on that thing and the ability to hook it to any tv really helps adoption

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2008 @ 9:44pm

    I stayed at a hotel in Gatlinburg, TN that had a keyboard that could connect to the internet and display on the TV screen inside the room with no PC needed. You could also use this keyboard to order room service, movies etc. I know this isn't really BYO screen, but the article reminded me of that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Allen (profile), 14 Nov 2008 @ 1:10am

    In 1996 I worked for in Vietnam for a few weeks. Driving down the highway we past peoples homes: bamboo walls, palm frond thatching, dirt floors. The thing that astounded me was the number of 26" colour TVs you could see through the door. I mean genuine two room grass huts with a TV bigger than the one I had sitting back in my double brick house back in the west. Wow.

    Of course, things have improved there enormously since so it would look very different today. But a TV is one of those things that people with almost nothing will still spend money on. So I'm not going to buy that having a TV in a developing nation means that you likely have a computer.

    The real question is how do they expect someone who cant afford a basic PC to be able to afford the data usage fees?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    chris (profile), 14 Nov 2008 @ 7:52am

    the rules in the thrid world are different

    wireless technologies have leapfrogged traditional wired infrastructure in the third world. many regions in africa or south america that have never had decent telephone infrastructure have mobile phone networks with millions of users. putting up signal towers is cheaper than running wire, always has been, always will be.

    wireless networks can connect just about anything but they aren't required to connect back to the internet. that's why there is a version of wikipedia on DVD:


    and why there is a voip system that works via a self healing wireless mesh:


    wireless access doesn't mean internet access. it doesn't even mean national access. it could just mean a giant intranet or darknet for the village, city or region.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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