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Android eBook reader for each student in the Philippines

More than 5 years ago, I had this crazyidea about how the future student would look like. Way back then, smartphones like Nokia are getting to be powerful enough to include an electronic book reader, wireless LAN access or wi-fi and high speed 3G internet acess. My vision was that students, instead of bringing around those big bags with wheels to carry their books, would just need to bring something like a pocketbook size touch screen computer. These pocketbook size touch screen computer will hold their books and notes and give them access to the “Internet library”.

Let’s fast forward now. Mobile technology has greatly improved during the last five years. Today, that pocketbook size touch screen computer is what we normally call a Tablet. The Android open source mobile phone operating system initiated by Google has been accelerating in terms of acceptance worldwide. Android is being used not only on mobile phones but Tablets as well. We are already seeing Android based tablets that are being sold for as low as less than 5,000 pesos.

I know what it’s like to study in a public school. With students not being able to have access to even the basic books needed. And mind you, some of the best classic books are now free for everyone to read on the Internet.

Now that technology is actually within reach and mobile phones seems to be on the hands of a lot of our children. I have this idea for the Telcos of the Philippines. Why not offer something for our students/children?

Offer a “product/service” at about 150 pesos a month or lower. The product/service will include a low cost Android tablet which will be FREE if you are a student (you can charge money for those who aren’t studying if you want). The mobile service/product must allow unlimited access to at least the Project Gutenberg and Wikipedia web sites so that our children would be able to ready those free books.

This will also allow our local publishers to produce electronic books which can be bundled at a cheaper cost (We also save on our trees) to local students. Those same ebooks can be sold online by the publishers to millions of other students around the world.

But the thing doesn’t stop there. By essentially getting our millions of students to use the Android platform, we are actually creating an ecosystem that will also spur the growth of Android mobile developers in our country. Local programmers can now think of crazy ideas and try and sell them to at least a big local market. And with Android OS adoption accelerating globally, that same idea / app / service may actually be globally viable enough to spur several startups that would hire local talent and help in building a stronger economy that is based on the skills of our people.

And what seems to be just a simple crazy risky idea for the Telcos like Globe Telecoms, Smart Communications or Sun Cellular may actually spur a whole lot of growth in terms of mobile Internet and comunication infrastructure usage for the Philippines.

Gerry Ilagan

Gerry Ilagan is into mobile apps and WordPress development at @speeqs. He loves to write about electronics, the Internet of Things, mobile phones, and #crazyideas.

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