UB Phone Lab research tries to spread internet access to developing countries

This photo courtesy of Blackberry shows the Blackberry Priv. The company isn’t giving up on BlackBerry 10, but it has released its first Android phone to lure those who want the wide array of apps available on Android, but not Blackberry. (Blackberry via AP)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The features you find on your Android phone five to 10 years from now could come from research happening at the University at Buffalo.

Professor Geoffrey Challen is in charge of a program that started four years ago, called the Phone Lab. The University distributed smartphones to faculty and students on campus.

“These phones have sort of novel features that are not based on apps,” says Challen. “What we’re experimenting with is actually sort of a lower level part of the software itself.”

The purpose of the Phone Lab is to try out new features, which you may find on your Android devices in the next five years.

As Professor Challen explains, the low level software that runs on your phone is very difficult to modify for researchers hoping to run experiments. That’s why other institutions are investigating this unique test-bed.

Challen says, “There’s an institute out of Berkeley that studies the internet. They’ve run experiments on our test bed so we’ve had a bunch of external groups that are coming in and now using this to do their research.”

60 percent of the world’s population does not have access to the internet. As technology improves, it should become more accessible.

Professor Challen sees this is an opportunity to bring those people in developing countries online.

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