3 things that $20 smartphones will mean to nonprofits

21 May


Earlier this month the chip maker ARM declared that the $20 smartphone will be here in a few months. This shouldn’t surprise anyone and it certainly spells trouble for high-end phone manufacturers like Apple. One only needs to look at where the PC started and where it is today to see that the smartphone is following the same path and it doesn’t stop with price points.

$20 smartphones will continue to fuel change, adaptation and for some, demise in both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

Leaders at nonprofit organizations in the US and globally especially need to pay attention to this development closely because it has deep meaning for them and their future.

Here are my three top things that $20 smartphones will mean for nonprofits.

Number one – Ubiquitous access to anyone at anytime

With smartphone penetration in the US at close to 70% even cheaper phones will drive the holdouts still carrying flip phones to want a $20 phone/computer in their hand. Many of these holdouts may also be driven by their carrier to upgrade for support and network reasons (think Sprint forcing Nextel phones off their network) and giving away a $20 smartphone is a no-brainer for the carriers.

As a nonprofit don’t you want access to anyone at anytime? Your mission is centered on sharing, involving and fundraising and being able to do all three at anytime sounds like a good plan right?

Number two – The cloud will win out over apps

The processors in $20 phones will likely be small meaning that running apps, while keeping the data connection open and all the other things phones do in the background, could make the app run slow just as large applications on a PC slow down PCs with small processors.

This situation is one that has driven the rise of the browser and the cloud. $20 smartphones are the equivalent of Google’s Chromebook; a heavy reliance on doing processing in the cloud via the browser in order to reduce storage and hardware costs of the device.

All this means one more big reason your nonprofit really should NOT build an app. The browser is the future-PC history repeats itself in the smartphone.

Number three – The need to go mobile has (already) arrived

If you follow my blog then you know I had to say this. The need to go mobile arrived way before the talk of a $20 phone. It arrived when Google started demoting your search rank because you rely on a PC site to be your mobile experience.

It arrived when your nonprofit asked me to fill out a form with personal information on it so that I would hand it to a total stranger when I put my smartphone down. Let me give easily and securely through my phone anytime, anywhere!

The day arrived when a stat like this became the reality: a whopping 84% of nonprofits do not have a mobile-optimized (forget “mobile-friendly) donation page for those wanting to give to you via their phone.

All in all the $20 smartphone is the internet and computing’s future. It’s also the future for your nonprofit and I hope these points I’ve shared motivate your nonprofit to take mobile much more seriously than you do today.

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.


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