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Smartphones and the Great Digital Divide

Smartphones and the Great Digital Divide answer the questions below. Provide references

1. Even though 44 percent of African Americans and Latinos own a smartphone while only 30 percent of White, non-Hispanics do, many people contend that this isn't really closing the great digital divide because African Americans and Latinos use their smartphones more for entertainment than empowerment. Build an argument to support the previous statement.

2. When accessing the Internet, what can you do on a desktop or laptop computer that you can't do on a smartphone? If smartphones have fewer Internet capabilities (than desktop and laptop computers), can you necessarily link an increase in smartphone ownership within a U.S.-based economically-disadvantaged group of people to closing the great digital divide? Why or why not?

3. How does an increase in smartphone ownership in a third-world geographic region like Africa close the digital divide for countries in that region? If you owned a U.S. business and wanted to start doing business in Africa, what would be an essential part of your marketing strategy?

4. If you look at smartphone ownership by household income, you'll notice a fairly sizable dip for the category of $50,000-$75,000. To what do you attribute this? Justify your answer?

5. Finally, will greater access to the Internet cause a closing of the great digital divide? You can answer Yes, No, or Some. Whatever the case, build an argument for your answer.

Solution Preview

1. The Great Digital Divide is often referred to as just broadband internet connectivity and the lack thereof across multiple ethnic and socioeconomic groups. However, the normal definition fails to consider that broadband internet connectivity itself does not a true internet user make; not in the sense that being connected to the internet alone will afford the user access to all of the knowledge and uses available to them on the web, especially those that can make him or her more productive.

While it is true that, according to a Pew Report published in July 2011, more Black Non-Hispanic and Hispanics owned smart phones as a percent of population compared to White Non Hispanic, the same report reveals that Whites owned other internet connected devices by a larger margin than other races. When you consider those things that you do on the internet that can be classified as truly accessing knowledge and making the user more productive, there are benefits to owning multiple devices to access the web. The limitations of the smart phone keep the owner from reading books published online (especially Google's library of classics), utilizing Microsoft's Office Suite to increase productivity, or even to have the ability to surf websites not optimized for mobile products. These limitations keep the user from truly being able to capitalize on what the web really has to offer. Therefore, when people have only one means of connecting to the internet, and this is in the form of a smart phone, to say the Digital Divide is being closed by smart phone ownership where other devices are readily available would be ...