[Server-devel] Supporting basic mobile phones

Anna aschoolf at gmail.com
Mon Nov 25 21:32:54 EST 2013

I was thinking about the type of phones as well.  If by "smartphone," Tim
means a phone that can do wifi, that should be easy enough to fit into our
existing ecosystem.  Maybe have browser detection and serve mobile
optimized stuff, say redirect to http://m.schoolserver on those devices.

If the phone does not do wifi, we'd need a different infrastructure setup.
Like Tim said, some sort of cellular gateway.  And then what sort of
interaction would there be?  I'm not familiar enough with non-smart phones
(besides texting and making voice calls) to know.

We've got a "regular" cellphone, a prepaid LG500G Tracfone, we use as a
spare (got it on sale for $10).  There's no microSD card in it and the only
way to talk to it locally is through bluetooth (bit of a hassle to set
up).  It's a decent enough phone, I can take pictures and videos, create
audio recordings, and write notes (there's a nice qwerty keyboard).  Then,
via a bluetooth dongle on my desktop, I can access the files I created.
Or, from my desktop, put pictures, videos, podcasts (or any other mp3
file), or text files on it.  I haven't tried to send/receive those files
over the cellular network because I don't want to waste a bunch of minutes
playing around with that.  Would airtime would be a factor with integrating
"regular" cellphones?  And if so, how best to communicate with the handset?

Carol Ruth Silver might be a good resource on the logistics since she's
involved with a project in Afghanistan using "regular" (non-smart) phones
to teach literacy.

On Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 1:39 PM, Tim Moody <tim at timmoody.com> wrote:

> This idea occurred to me as well.  I think we need to be sure about the
> kinds of phones that are available.  What I read indicates mostly not smart
> phones.  I believe the highly successful apps, such as mpesa and ushahidi
> use sms, not even wap.  You then need a cellular gateway.
>> Message: 1
>> Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2013 09:21:47 +0530
>> From: Anish Mangal <anish at activitycentral.com>
>> To: server-devel <server-devel at lists.laptop.org>, T Gillett
>> <tgillett at gmail.com>
>> Subject: [Server-devel] [crazy idea] Supporting basic mobile phones |
>> Searching for possible standards
>> Message-ID:
>> <CAHFjNwNb5jh=kDm9Cw8gdKgW8-C1YHJe1GD=ChdhktsKiGszYg at mail.gmail.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>> Hi,
>> Disclaimer: Please do not construe this as a direction that XSCE should be
>> taking, but more of a crazy idea I am exploring on the side.
>> In developing nations, the most common communication device is the mobile
>> phone. It is atleast a magnitude more common any other electronic
>> communication device. If one were to look at building technology solutions
>> for education in less developed nations of this world, a cellphone would
>> seem like the perfect thing to piggyback upon.
>> On the other hand, this would seem like saying lets shut down sugar and
>> move to android, because it's everywhere, something I'm not sure is the
>> best thing to do. (So I am conflicted about it).
>> Cutting to the chase:
>> 1. Is there any overlap between the xsce vision *as you see it* and
>> supporting mobile phones.
>> 2a. If the answer to that is a yes, are there standards or software that
>> might help make XSCE content and services available on basic mobile
>> phones.
>> We will probably forego 80% of the value XSCE provides, but that 20% might
>> be valuable.
>> 2b. What kind of service standards would be most suitable to build upon?
>> WAP, SMS, Voice (navigation)? Most basic mobile phones today have a WAP
>> browser.
>> The more I think, the more it "feels" that this may not be the right thing
>> for the XSCE project, but still would like to have an understanding of the
>> challenges involved.
>> Thoughts?
>> --
>> Anish
>> P.S. this email is a result of talking to a few people over the past few
>> weeks and hearing from them again and again the sheer availability of
>> mobile phones. At the same time, I'm sure many people would have already
>> tried to figure out this space (maybe I'm trying to do just that).
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