Jan Chipchase, nokia anthropologist, on shared phone use

via Smartmobs

Jan Chipchase is a canny observer of communication practices who roams the world as an anthropologist for Nokia. His current report, with Indri Tulusan, is on mobile phone sharing — an important socio-technical practice, especially in the developing world.


Much of the growth in the telecommunications industry is coming from emerging markets – places like India and Africa and for many new consumers their first mobile phone experience is a shared one. This essay uses the term sharing in the sense of primary usage orientated around borrowing and lending rather than ‘let me show you the photos I took at last night’s party’. Mobile phone sharing is not just limited to personal use – from the streets of Cairo to Kampala kiosks are springing up with little more than a mobile phone and a sign advertising call rates. What happens when people share an object that is inherently designed for personal use? And based on how and why people share in what ways can devices and services be redesigned to optimise the shared user experiences? Indeed, should they be re-designed?

A summary of this essay appears here and a presentation that compliments this essay entitled Shared Phone Practices: Exploratory Field Research from Uganda and Beyond can be downloaded from the resesarch dot Nokia dot com site here [7MB, PowerPoint]. In time, related posts on Power Up: Street Charging Services in Kampala, Rural Charging Services, Community Address Books & Call Logs and the Village Phone, Uganda will be listed here.


Filed under: ethnography, research, technology

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