Dataless: No Data? No Problem.


We started Cal Hacks tossing around ideas, came to the idea of providing smartphones with internet access through a solely SMS-based platform, and never turned back. To start, we quickly tested out some ideas (Android SMS send/receive, Twilio messaging, Amazon EC2) and found out they all individually worked. Initiate #DanceParty. It was time to get to work.

So here's the Android app: An internet portal using no cellular data, only SMS text messages. Access convenient services such as Wikipedia, Bing Search, USDA Nutritional Information, Weather, etc... using only SMS.

Motivation


You own a smartphone with an SMS plan, but no data plan. How can you stay connected to the information of the modern world?

4.5 billion people lack internet access worldwide, yet smartphone ownership is growing faster than ever throughout even the most destitute of geographic locations. A vast number of these new smartphone users, however, lack access to data either because of financial constraints or a lack of geographically-available, data-enabling infrastructure. With an awareness of the power that connectivity and information has on empowering all realms of life, we wanted to create a platform that could provide data-less smartphone users with the power of information. Once we realized what that platform was, the inevitable dance party commenced before jumping into the world of hacking.

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