Why Tech is Expensive in Brazil

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this subject before but a tech site has broken down the reasons behind why tech is so expensive in Brazil. Among the reasons (often called the “custo Brasil“) are taxes, expensive employees, precarious infrastructure, status and pirating. Read the full explanation at Tecnoblog (in PT).

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iPad Arrives in Brazil

Apple iPad began to be sold in Brazil yesterday in 6 major cities at a price that varies between R$1,649 and R$2,599, depending on connectivity and storage space. The entry price is 91% higher than that of the same item in the US (see chart below). The operators Vivo, Oi, Claro and TIM all have data plans that vary between R$59 and R$199.90.

More Info

Expat Brazil
Macworld Brasil
(in PT)
Exame – iPad launch (in PT)

When Technology Democratizes Music

Quite an interesting 15-minute talk by Ronaldo Lemos on the digital music revolution in Brazil.

For more on the subject, I happened to catch a longer speech of his titled “Free Culture in Brazil” back in April.

Technology vs language learning

While keeping up with my fair share of technology news, I come across the odd article on language learning and how technology is helping us in this field. The question is helping us with what? While one side is offering different ways to assist us with language learning itself (Mango, Rosetta Stone, LiveMocha, etc), the dark side, as I will deem it, is taking away the need to actually learn anything.

This darker side (usually promoted by Google) encourages the use of technology over the study of another language, so that we may take a picture of a menu or street sign in another language (see article link above) instead of actually knowing what the sign or menu says because we have put hard work into studying that langauge. Additionally, there are advances in translation software, helped along by crowd-sourced corrections, that practically render knowing another language for business or pleasure obsolete. Team that with the fact so many of us are walking around with mini computers in our pockets which are wired to the Internet and for the would-be budding lingophile, the magic comes from someone else’s knowledge rather than our own. As icing on the cake, Google is hard at work on voice-to-voice translation technology as well.

For the more beautiful living langauges among us, such as Portuguese, where does that leave us? It will most-likely leave us with a population of would-be language lovers who visit Brazil without the need to place any effort into understanding the intricacies of its culture, much less the language because their smartphone puts the magic of language learning at the tips of their fingers rather than on the tips of their tongues.

For more on the subject, see the comments section for a follow-up discussion.

Internet access up 75% in Brazil (in 3 yrs)

“The percentage of Brazilians, who are 10 years or older, that are online increased 75.3% in the last 3 years, going from 20.9% in 2005 to 34.8% in 2008 (or 56 million users), the Brazilian Institution of Geography and Statistics stated on Friday.

The increase occurred just as much among men (21.9% in 2005 to 35.8% in 2008) as it did among women (from 20.1% to 33.9%). Last year, the utilization was larger among the youth: those between 15 and 17 years old registered the highest percentage (62%) of people that went online and also they represented the group with the highest increase in the last three years (when it was at 33.7%).”

Source (more here, in PT)

Yahoo’s Meme is perhaps tarde d+

Yahoo previewed its Twitter clone today, although only in Portuguese (I suppose they are rolling it out to Brazil first). The service is called Meme and apparently does the same thing as Twitter although with an allowance of 100 characters per ‘meme’. The problem is Twitter is already king and Brazilians are already ‘tweeting’.

The term ‘meme’ comes from Richard Dawkins 1976 book ‘The Selfish Gene’, a book which basically says we are not in charge of our destiny, but rather the gene is. Anyways, ‘meme’ refers to an element of culture or behavior which is passed on non genetically, ie imitated. An interesting read (I’ve read it) if you follow genetics and/or subscribe to the theory of evolution. Speaking of which, Charles Darwin wrote ‘The Origin of the Species’ after visiting Brazil.

Note: Tarde d+ means ‘too late’ (d+ = de mais = demais)