Cell users now treat their gadget as a body appendage. There is striking growth in the number of people who are taking advantage of the growing number of functions that these phones can perform, and there isn’t much evidence yet that the pace of change is slowing down.

Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet and American Life project, in the New York Times.

See our chart of common cell activities below (click to enlarge):

(via pewresearch)

The GSMA mWomen Design Challenge: Meet the needs of resource-poor women by improving the smartphone UX

Designers, programmers and innovators of all kinds are invited to consider the user experience of resource-poor women to reimagine a smartphone’s core user interface to be more intuitive and accessible. The more a woman can use her phone, the more value she’ll be able to realize from the pre-installed apps, widgets, and other functionality that can enhance her and her family’s lives.

Today, most mobile users in developing markets rely on basic feature phones, which generally offer little beyond basic voice and SMS functionality. But smartphones will drive the next stage of the mobile revolution, offering access to more phone features, as well as being the primary tool for internet access for many in the developing world. As competition grows and the phones become more popular, manufacturers will realize economics of scale and will reduce prices, creating a cycle that will ultimately lead to affordable smartphones throughout the developing world.

“These are the most dangerous things; the things that have severe consequence and low probability…These are the events one worries about when one has to run a large organization.”

Yossi Sheffi explores the various flavors of redundancy, simplicity, flexibility and communications strategies businesses employ to make themselves resilient. 

TAKING CHARGE will be a pocket guide to the emerging synergies of portable solar energy, cell phone technology and natural resource management in ten remote river communities on the Arapiuns River in Brazil’s Amazon region. 

We are altered first by the act of watching, as in a fine description I once read of a Rembrandt self-portrait: all absorbed in the greed of seeing. And now we begin to be altered again and again, recursively, observing ourselves as we observe. Seeing one another as fellow-observers, fellow makers of records; they are observing themselves observing; observing us observing.

Human self-awareness is multiplying itself onto an altogether new plane.

Reinvent Africa

Mobile participatory budgeting helps raise tax revenues in Congo

In a world awash in data, connected by social networks and focused on the next big thing, stories about genuine innovation get buried behind the newest shiny app or global development initiative. For billions of people around the world, the reality is that inequality in resources, access to education or clean water, or functional local government remain serious concerns.

South Kivu, located near the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been devastated by the wars that have ravaged the region over the past decade.

Despite that grim context, a pilot program has born unexpected fruit. Mobile technology, civic participation, smarter governance and systems thinking combined to not only give citizens more of a voice in their government but have increased tax revenues as well. Sometimes, positive change happens where one might reasonably least expect it. 

The future of education in Africa is mobile

While education struggles to cope, mobile communication has grown exponentially. Africa is today the fastest growing and second largest mobile phone market in the world. While in some countries – including Botswana, Gabon and Namibia – there are more mobile subscriptions than inhabitants, Africa still has the lowest mobile penetration of any market. There is plenty more growth to come. Over 620 million mobile subscriptions mean that for the first time in the history of the continent, its people are connected.

These connections offer an opportunity for education. Already, we are starting to see the beginnings of change. An increasing number of initiatives – some large-scale, some small – are using mobile technologies to distribute educational materials, support reading, and enable peer-to-peer learning and remote tutoring through social networking services. Mobiles are streamlining education administration and improving communication between schools, teachers and parents. The list goes on. Mobile learning, either alone or in combination with existing education approaches, is supporting and extending education in ways not possible before.

The Future of Mobile: 2011-2017