African Mobile phones get surprisingly smarter
2 April 2012
The Africa Report - March 29, 2012
Imagine you are in Yokadouma, a rural community in eastern Cameroon with little electricity and inaccessible roads. You have an old, inexpensive mobile phone with which you can only make and receive calls.
The good news is that it is now possible for that phone to be smarter ― to send and receive e-mails, check a Facebook account and chat online, even without internet access.
ForgetMeNot Africa, owned by Lon-Zim and ForgetMeNot Software, developed the Message Optimizer (MO) service in March 2009 to enable telecommunications operators to provide messaging services to customers at no extra cost, without any new applications or phone upgrades. Popular chat services such as MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Windows Live and Gtalk are all incorporated into the MO.
"Message Optimizer turns every mobile phone into a mobile computing and mobile authentication device," states ForgetMeNot Africa. The MO allows "more and more of our subscribers to get access to the internet without having to purchase expensive smartphones," according to Douglas Mboweni, the chief executive officer of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, a mobile network.