Cell phones, not laptops, hold the most promise for providing low-cost access to one-to-one computing in developing nations, according to Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates.

Gates' decree, first published in the New York Times in January, came after Microsoft vice president and chief technology officer Craig Mundie told the newspaper both he and Gates are convinced that turning cell phones into computers by connecting the handheld devices to keyboards and television sets holds the most promise for the spread of one-to-one computing, especially in developing nations, where access to expensive hardware and software often is difficult.

The software maker's

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