There’s a decent amount of chatter about microcredit/microlending being used in developing regions, and plenty of respect paid to the need to get “the unbanked” represented in mobile payment systems. But what about filling out the rest of the desktop base services with mobile equivalents? Just the normal base productivity apps. What happens once these folks get up and running? Is there a need for a Quickbooks equivalent that’s entirely mobile? How about backups that don’t involve syncing back to a desktop you probably don’t have? If you needed to run everything you did on a daily basis from mobile devices only are all the necessary parts in place?
I’m a developer, so the answer to that question has always been no. Although us developers are pretty much “pure” online interaction – we don’t have a lot of the need for offline interaction that lots of other professions do – everyone just assumes that if you’re going to be a developer you’re going to have a computer system of some kind. What if that wasn’t the case however? What if the knowledge of local conditions or business models trumped the other concerns? What are the tools you could use to get the job done if you had a business opportunity and a mobile phone, and that’s it? These are the kinds of questions that have been dragging me out of bed lately.