Now, send a handwritten note as email through mobile without internet!


Just imagine this situation – your grand-ma who is situated at her remote native place with abysmally low internet penetration, sends you an email to enquire about your well-being and, at the same time, forwarding her medical reports to get them checked with some specialist doctor situated in your urban locality.

The most obvious question that would crop-up in your mind would be how can my computer illiterate grand ma forward me an email? Yes, there is an easy way to tackle this problem. But, not without a small hurdle to this – she would need a mobile phone with a camera.

Computer major Hewlett-Packard is almost ready with a newly researched technology that would convert any mobile with a camera into an unusual emailing device. This would, essentially, mean that you can send an email without any access to internet connection.

 Let’s see how does it work?

pen and paper emailFirst take a plain paper. Jot down your desirable email content on that paper. Of course, you also need to add the email address of the mail’s recipient on it. Once the writing job is done, photograph the text using the camera on the mobile phone. The above steps are easy to understand and perform.

It is at this stage that the HP technology comes under the purview for forwarding this captured content through emailing without any access to internet.

HP Labs is developing a software application that has to be loaded on the cell phone which will process the email image, in order to convert it into normal text, and send it to the addressee. However, this also means that software has to be compatible with every mobile handset available in the market.

Well, just forget about your grand ma for the time being. This new concept could come in handy even to you, if you’re one of those internet subscribers who face regular complaints about frequent disconnection from your service provider. In case of urgency, you can take a snap of your written content and send through your mobile loaded with this latest software application.

This new application could well serve the purpose to fill the gap between deeper mobile reach and comparatively much lower internet penetration.

  1. Varun Jindal says

    Interesting article and even more interesting comments!
    My take on this: E-mail and voice are two separate mediums of communication. Leave alone rural areas, has voice replaced e-mail in urban areas yet? No, because e-mail is a different medium and serves different purposes than that of voice. E-mail is like a half-duplex communication channel wherein both the parties can interact but not simultaneously. However voice, when referred in context of day-to-day mobile communication, is a full-duplex communication channel. This device will virtually have all the advantages that an e-mail medium have over voice communication and I won’t get into those advantages.

    Some people who are little conversent with the computer technology would prefer to write the content manually than typing it. Also, this device will come as handy for people who are dumb.

    1. Viral says

      Hello Varun,

      An interesting take from you on mobile and email communication system.

      Equally enlightening is the thought that this new technology could be helpful for the hearing impaired people.

      Personally, I am of the opinion that typing on the screen is much faster & effortless job than putting it on a piece of paper. Eeh! Lazy statement, isn’t it? But, yes, as you rightly pointed out, for those people who are less tech-inclined, this could be a blessing in disguise.

  2. Pradeep says

    wow.. thats a great news.. this can really change the way we communicate specially for the rural area..sending snaps without internet.. thats really great

  3. Altaf Rahman says

    I can relate to the technology in my own humble way.
    Where I work, our project of gas pipeline is spread across 200 km of desert with out land lines for PCs at site (They got mobile connectivity however). Our teams work in batches at diff locations. Some times our mechanics need spares of some welding machines. The mechanics cant explain to us sitting in head office the part no, OEM Manufacturer details. What they do is take a picture of the part and send it to us. (Niral has stated grandma sending her med reports, where as we get messages from sites) From this context what is written above is crucial (how ever trivial it may be).
    Some times I feel that they should come up with a technology which connects mobiles directly to the printers (bypassing PC or laptop)

  4. Madhav Shivpuri says

    Does anybody need my autograph? Unless that’s the case, this tech is like spending millions of dollars creating a pen to write in space than use pencil. I really don’t know the pain point they are trying to address.

    If the connection is spotty why not type out the message draft and copy-paste and send it when the signal is strong? One could instead use voice to text apps, or voice mail feature and send one’s message as a mp3 attachment that could be played in one’s tongue/ voice. Just some stray ideas…

    1. Viral says

      @Rabi & Madhav…

      Its heartening to read both of yours valuable inputs, though in the same direction.

      Hmm… on the face of it the concept certainly seems less sensible, after reading critical arguments of both of you. But the computer biggie is on its way to come out with this unique technology. Lets wait & watch :D

  5. rabi gupta says

    Hey Viral, good info! But dont u think this is like taking a step back? We are already entering into an era of 3G technology. it may not be readily accessible here, but still. smhow i feel tht its a very very trivial need they r trying to solve. Need to wait till we can see the real software though :)

    1. Viral says

      Hello Rabi,

      I completely agree with you that this is like taking a rewind step. But, then this very backward step can also be viewed as momentum accumulating measure – to move ahead fast and furious.

      Take the example of India’s rural area. Two points that needs to be considered over here are: 1)Internet penetration is abysmally low in rural areas. 2) Another point being, even with the advent of 3G, the voice message still remains an highly untapped and under-penetrated in the rural India.

      The basic voice market is set for a longer haul . While 3G is for premium serives such as videos,
      faster surfing, etc.

      1. rabi gupta says

        Hey tht’s there. But I still can’t believe the idea of people writing a document and then clicking a pic and then sending/emailing it. When u have phone, simply call. Or if people want to use it as a cheap alternative then I’m sorry, calls are already damn cheap. I’m not actually getting where the fascination lies- in sending “Handwritten” docs or in “emailing” without having GPRS activated Or “GPRS” would still be required?

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