A NUMBER of interesting things in the high-technology sector are happening both worldwide and in Cambodia – a lot of it good news for people looking to connect easily and cheaply to the internet, from anywhere.
Worldwide there’s a trend away from desktop computers and toward laptop technology, as evidenced by one of the world’s largest motherboard manufacturers, Gigabyte of Taiwan, which has been making a strategic shift towards notebook and tablets, or slates, as shown in the Nagaworld Hotel product launch on July 19.
So while devices are getting smaller, somewhat driven by Apple Computer’s astonishing global success that seemed to lag behind the power of the PC a decade ago, but now with the iPhone, the iPad and the new iPad2, Apple is showing just what the marriage of hardware and software can do in terms of consumer product appeal. Mac people are righteous about their love for their computers, and they should be.
But that doesn’t mean PCs are going to go away: they still have 90 percent of the market and software developers continue to develop to the Windows platform. Interestingly, several Mac users I met have their Mac hard drives partitioned and run Windows on one side, usually XP, to handle all the software that is not so easy to do with the Mac.
Over-arching this Mac-PC paradigm that continues to evolve, with good results for the consumer, is the driving down of internet prices by the mobile service providers. Ever since the advent of the smartphone, which is a phone you can use to check email or browse the internet, mobile operators have been scrambling to ramp up their data capabilities, beyond the usual voice service.
The largest such local provider here in Cambodia, Cellcard (Mobitel), (see story on the opposing page) has done just that – running their entire network on the IP protocol, for voice or data, and working to make it seamless for the user, with whatever device and from whatever location – to easily get on the internet, check email and do other important work. Other mobile operators like Smart and hello are making similar offers.
This mobile technology is so rapidly increasing in popularity that many people are choosing to invest only in a “modem stick” and SIM card to get on the internet from home.
The freedom of connectivity is remarkable as Cambodia is leap-frogging into the highest possible technology without being choked back by the powerful lobby of existing, entrenched technology. These are fascinating days for Cambodia’s ICT sector, as you’ll read in comments from some of Cambodia’s high-technology leaders like Ken Chanthan, Sor Sontheary, Pily Wong, Eric Mousette, Hang Chamroeun and others.
While technology entrepreneurs like Heng are helping Cambodians develop their businesses through the application of high technology machines and locally-produced software, ICT visionaries like Ken Chanthan and Sor Sontheary are encouraging the Cambodian government to hatch a coherent ICT policy that will enable this country of 14 million to plug in to the internet and put people to work at computers – all kinds of work from all kinds of places – done via the magic of fibre optics.