Archive for the ‘iAfrica’ tag
Back before the internet became mainstream in South Africa — 2004, I think — my then boyfriend got me to download Opera Mini for my k700i. I was reluctant to do so; I didn’t think I needed the internet on my phone, too.
My resistance didn’t last long and I have been using this browser ever since. I’m an Opera Mini Missionary. So I find it surprising that some people still choose to use the default browser of their phone. Unless you’re using a phone with Windows Mobile you should consider getting a proper browser.
But this isn’t my biggest gripe, actually. My biggest gripe is with companies who build these mobile sites. I’m not sure whether anyone tests it out first. Or perhaps the tester thinks the end-users won’t be interested in building content.
So this means that it’s difficult, nay, impossible, to edit a Wikipedia page by using the mobile version. I played around with the default web browser of my k800i yesterday. The page looks terrible and takes long to load. The information that gets displayed is perhaps only a quarter of what one can see on the ‘real’ web; the page on grammar is divided into three pages.
I also tested the local iAfrica site. I’m not impressed. The News24 site is even worse than iAfrica. The font is small and users cannot comment on articles. Is this the Web 2.0 Digital Divide?
Not even Opera Mini is perfect: it doesn’t recognise predictive text; however, the browser of my phone does. But Opera Mini just makes life so much easier. So I can’t imagine switching. Unless someone develops a new mobile browser that can use predictive text when typing in a Google query *and* doesn’t ever convert sites to the mobile version.
But not many people know about Opera Mini or alternative mobile browsers. Hell, most people do not even know that any WAP-enabled phone can connect to the internet.
So what does this mean for us in South Africa? Most black people do not have access to the traditional web. But almost everyone has a cellphone. The purpose of the internet is no longer just to get information; it is to get information, be entertained and create content. And it is pretty damn impossible to create any type of content with a mobile browser.