Netbooks, iPhones, Android mobile devices. Personal computing around the world is converging on the hand-held device, and the combination of price point, sophistication and network effect could help deliver more of what many early supporters of the internet were aiming for - democratization of media and technology.
What's it going to look like when mobile devices really change the world? A new effort to provide funding to mobile projects aimed at public good could give us a good look at the future. The nonprofit N2Y4 Mobile Challenge from Netsquared is accepting project submissions from mobile developers through this month and will provide seed funding to a handful of lucky winners. The submissions so far are quite interesting.
Here's a sample of what projects have been submitted so far.
Think about the billions of people around the world whose lives could be touched by apps like this. There are 4 billion mobile phone subscriptions around the world. There are only 175 million active Facebook users. The iPhone has a fraction of the users that mobile in general has or that Facebook has, but it's got all kinds of apps. What kind? Apple approved 14 iPhone fart apps in one day recently and I know, mobile world, that ain't the best you've got.
Check out some of our favorite submissions so far to the N2Y4 Mobile Challenge.
FloodSMS - Early Detection and Warning of Catastrophic Flooding via SMS is an early warning application for floods. It will push SMS messages to people downstream of a flood event giving them up to 24 hours advanced warning.
mStockGuru provides mobile medical inventory control for the 70% of the developing world that gets its medicine from "mom & pop" type kiosks.
FrontlineSMS Medic puts the FrontlineSMS system, an open-source, free SMS client, to use in creating and distributing medical records over mobile devices.
For more examples of mobile world-changing projects, check out Britt Bravo's list of nonprofit iPhone apps.
The winners of the N2Y4 Mobile Challenge will receive varying portions of $50k in total seed funding. Submissions will be accepted through April 3rd. Send yours in today and get ready to vote on which ones you think should get the money. If you've ever played the Ocarina on an iPhone, a few minutes of participation in this event online is the least you can do. The web is supposed to be a world changing phenomenon and mobile devices could be the ticket for billions of people whose lives have seen too little change.
What would you like to see developed on a mobile platform that could make the world a better place?