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Wireless called key to global development

The bridge across the global digital divide is likely to be a wireless one. At a conference here on using technology to solve social and economic problems in developing nations, a number of speakers emphasized the role of wireless communications. A. Richard Newton, dean of the College of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, said the most important technological step to take in developing countries is to build out communications networks with wireless capabilities. He said it is conceivable to put solar-powered antennae towers that support voice and data communications in villages for about $750 apiece. Newton also proposed a mobile phone with a much simpler interface, one he claimed was economically feasible. The phone would display images of people who called, so a user reviewing voice mail could press on the image of the person whose message he wanted to hear. “I can build that phone for less than $5 today,” he said. Full Story

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