In several cultures tablets and even phones are viewed as communal devices that are shared for the benefit of the community. That is a different model than we typically assume in the United States!
Here are some of the most interesting emerging use cases in developing nations.
According to Kochi, "airtime has become another form of currency. Imagine you need to get a small amount of money to your sister who lives in a village that's ten hours drive away. The easiest way for you to do that is to buy some airtime, but instead of topping up your own prepaid mobile service you top up hers. For a small fee, she can now go and cash out this airtime with an agent that sells airtime."
Ogunlesi also shares that phones are able to "able to transform ordinary citizens disenchanted by their governments, into resistance fighters." The ability to share pictures and text in real time is a powerful way to fight brutal and/or corrupt regimes. On the flip side, they can make citizens easier to track.
Mobile phones can speed reconnection with loved ones in refugee camps by providing a SMS or other registry for displaced persons (Ogunlesi). They could also be used to coordinate volunteer efforts on the ground.
According to Ogunlesi, "by serving as platforms for sharing weather information, market prices, and micro-insurance schemes, mobile phones are allowing Africa's farmers to make better decisions, translating into higher-earning potentials. Farmers are able to send a text message to find out crop prices in places thousands of kilometers away."
According to Tsao, in Uganda, "less than 21% of births of children less than five years old are registered." A mobile platform was developed so that "individuals can register births and deaths."
Also "malaria, a disease affecting nearly 3.5 billion people, has the opportunity to be the first disease beaten entirely by mobile." There are several efforts including a mobile reminders for using bednets, enable donations, and increase access to testing and treatment (Tsao).
"Traffickers, through the use of mobiles, are able to organize, advertise, and streamline their illicit activities while expanding their criminal networks. As a consequence, more people are enslaved than at the height of the Atlantic trade, and partly due to an additive ability to communicate." Mobile provides a variety of tools that could make this a much riskier business by increasing communication capabilities and physical tracking through GPS (Tsao).