w:::: MMS Memo ::::
Watching the evolution of MMS camera phones and the Symbian OS for the purpose of Moblogging.



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wSaturday, June 21, 2003

Video blogging with Three (3G) phones
Martin Little has been experimenting with his new Three phone. Mabye it's just my aging PC but the MP4 video seems disappointingly jerky. Any comment Martin?

posted by James at 10:19 AM


UIQ to become platform, like Series 60 [via Your Symbian]
"What is not in doubt is that there will be a significant number of UIQ devices in the next 18 months, to the point which it will become a platform like Series 60. What interesting is that almost all the software developers said that UIQ, i.e. P800, software was outselling Series 60 considerably."

I haven't posted much about UIQ lately (quick reminder, that's the pen-based interface used on the SE P800) but the article above has certainly brought it back into my radar screen. So I'll be monitoring it's progress more closely from now on.

posted by James at 10:01 AM

wFriday, June 20, 2003

Nokia V Microsoft: The OS Market War [via Wireless Developer Network]
"The quest for domination of the mobile terminal operating systems (OS) market will be led by Symbian and everybody's favorite archrival, Microsoft, according to analyst firm Probe Group. Probe's just-published forecast of mobile handsets indicates that Symbian and Microsoft will lead all other OS vendors with 5% and 2.5% of the global market, respectively, by 2007. Linux could be positioned for a surge in Asian markets, particularly China."

posted by James at 6:48 PM


Football goals for mobile phones [via vnunet.com]

BBC Technology has put together a highly tuned process for turning full-screen football coverage into clips suitable for a tiny mobile phone. "While the process of gathering the material is not really different from editing a package for TV, it's what we do with the footage once we've decided on which clip to use that matters," explained [Stepthen] Desmond [video content producer for Hutchison's 3 arm at BBC Technology.]

"It's important that the 10 seconds is visually clear enough for the viewer to see what is going on, which means that once we've grabbed out 10 seconds, around a goal being scored, for example, we zoom the view in on the important action and players involved in the build-up to that goal, and not on the bigger, wider shot that would normally be shown on TV."

And that's the kind of extra work that most content producers haven't yet factored into the equation. Merely redirecting existing video content to mobile phones just won't cut it.

posted by James at 6:23 PM


GMTV launches first fully commercial MMS service [via newmediazero.com]
"GMTV this week launched one of the first fully commercial MMS services tied in to broadcast content. The service is also said to be the first third-party MMS content delivered directly, without the need for WAP Push. The innovative service allows viewers to register to receive regular MMS alerts containing photo and text recipes from the week's 'One Minute' feature. 'This is a first in terms of pure MMS delivery systems that bypass the operator's MMSc,' said Brainstorm CEO Craig Massey. "

posted by James at 3:20 PM


UMTS is not for data services!!!
Well that headline really caught my eye. Here's some more food for thought from the article -

"UMTS is not for data services June 19, 2003 3G is for cost reduction and not for multimedia data transmissions such as streaming video and video-telephony, according to Cambridge Consultants (CCL). "The theoretical cost per minute is eight times lower on UMTS, so what 3G is all about is increasing capacity at low cost," CCL's Jim Schoenenberger, "It's not about multimedia services, it's about reducing cost."

"Voice is still the killer application," explained Schoenenberger, "and the operators' problem is that they've seen a 20% decline in ARPU in the last two years. MMS will not increase ARPU in my view, and GPRS will be sufficient for 90% of new MMS services, while demand for video is very uncertain."

And worst of all the article confirms that the power in the industry has shifted to the operators away from the hardware manufacturers. All in all a rather depressing read :-(

posted by James at 9:35 AM


Vodafone launches video PXT [via Computerworld]. "An enhancement to its Vodafone live! PXT service, the video function will let users record about 10 seconds of a personal video message on the Nokia 3650 and send it to any Video PXT capable phone or e-mail address, from Saturday June 21 2003."

posted by James at 7:34 AM

wThursday, June 19, 2003

Targus Universal IR Wireless Keyboard. Beautiful fold up QWERTY keyboard currently undergoing testing for Nokia 7650 (and 3650 too I presume) compatibility. Woooohooooo, no more worrying about adapting to that silly retro circular keypad.

posted by James at 10:36 PM


infoSync World : Smartphones now impacting PDA sales. Well that's hardly surprising now is it?

posted by James at 10:30 PM


Line up of Symbian phone by size. Very cool.

posted by James at 10:25 PM


Netfront browser just got better [via AllAboutSymbian]
"Following rigorous testing held by Nokia Mobile Communications, NetFront v3.0 tailor-made for Nokia 7650, 3650 and other Nokia Series 60 Smart Phone platforms received the prestigious
Nokia OK accreditation to give you enhanced user experience with top performances"

posted by James at 9:56 PM


Nokia 3650 vs Nokia 6600: It's the colors! (Loud Thinking). A very interesting post from Loud Thinking about the major benefit of the upcoming 6600 over the 3650 - 16-bit colors will mean much higher quality video.

posted by James at 9:54 PM


Nokia Observation Camera review.
At last a review of the Nokia Observation Camera. Unfortunately it doesn't really tell us much we didn't know already but confirms our fears that it's a rather pricey audiovisual monitoring system even if it is uniquely flexible.

posted by James at 6:51 PM


Karlin reports that, "02 Ireland done a 'soft launch' of a phoneblogging service, which uses the Foneblog product from Dublin's Newbay Software.

The product generated a lot of interest at Europe and US shows earlier this year and I believe was the first commercial phoneblogging product out there. You can trial it for free for a month, then it's euro2.50/monthly. You can MMS or SMS your blog entries in."

Ok, I think the 'soft launch' approach indicates a certain amount of trepidation so it will be interesting to see what the take up is like. Irish texters are amongst the most prolific in the world and the operators here have some of the highest ARPUs in Europe so if Irish teens don't run with this idea it's difficult to imagine who will. And judging by the service homepage it clearly is aimed at the teen market.

The euro2.50 per month price point certainly seems reasonable but it seems odd that you must submit your MMS messages via email instead of MMSing them. So you'll be paying normal GPRS data rates instead of MMS rates I presume? Hmmm, could get quite expensive to submit video and audio then, couldn't it!

Overall this 'walled garden' approach to moblogging will have limited success. As I've said before I think there are just so many good blogging tools out there with new photo and video submission plug-ins beings created every day, that proprietary systems such as Foneblog will have a limited appeal. Fine for the newbies but that's about it.

posted by James at 10:56 AM


This review of the NEC e606, one of the first 3G phones, is not exactly complentary of the camera quality -

"The camera and video-camera (same thing) give very poor picture quality with everything low contrast and looking like it's in a smoky room. Don't believe what they show you on TV!!"

All in all the phone seems thoroughly dismal. Why do the operators and phone makers insist on doing this? Didn't they ever hear that it's no longer good enough in business to merely please the customer, you must strive to delight them. That's the mistake they made with WAP and that's the same mistake they appear to be making again with 3G :-( [via Tom Hume]

posted by James at 10:47 AM

wWednesday, June 18, 2003

The Mobitopians have a quick overview of the terrific new Treo 600 from Handspring. Rumours on the net suggest this device was partly the reason why Palm recently bought Handspring and I can understand why!

Good observations in the blog comment about two negatives - lack of bluetooth and old-school 'sticky-out' antenna. Other than that though it really is a huge jump in innovation from the Palm camp. Good to see.

posted by James at 9:44 PM


ArcSoft Delivers MMS Composer Imaging Software Solution To Handheld Device Manufactures. MMS Composer is an MMS solution for mobile devices running on the BREW, Microsoft Smartphone, and Pocket PC operating system. MMS Composer presents multimedia message viewing, composing, sending and receiving for handheld devices.

posted by James at 7:10 PM


Karlin Lillington had great fun in Helsinki using the camera phones that Nokia loaned her.

"The resolution is pretty decent for a phone and it gets quite addictive to take shots on the go. They're definitely 'fun pics' though, some thing you take for the moment, not something you'd be printing out!"

posted by James at 4:41 PM

wTuesday, June 17, 2003

The simple question - Are we charged for incoming MMS? - on a bulletin board leads to an interesting discussion.

posted by James at 9:06 PM


And Tom Hume together with Tomi Ahonen also understand the different nature of voice and video 'communication' on mobile phones -

"I favour Tomi Ahonen's idea that content designed with mobile in mind will become more popular: whether that be short, snappy films (think of how MTV videos show a complete story in a few minutes), or 10-second clips sent between friends using MMS ("here's my kitten playing with a fly", "here's Brighton Pier on fire"). In these situations, image quality is less important than relevance"

That's why I sometimes wonder if Realnetworks have it all wrong with their emphasis on streaming media. Cleverly produced 15 second video clips occupying no more than 100kb, sent via MMS and downloaded in a few seconds might be all the mobile video content we'll want. Sure, it's easy to squeeze a Realmedia or 3GP formatted episode of 'The Simpsons' into a Nokia 3650 MMC but I think I'd prefer to watch in on TV. Why do we always instinctively try to regurgitate 'old' media for new delivery channels. We did it on the 'net and now we're doing it on mobile. Listen up cotent producers - each channel is different. As Tom and Tomi point out, relevance is the important thing.

posted by James at 7:06 PM


Dan Gillmor's eJournal - Mobile Cameras and the Nature of Snapshots "When you carry a camera around that a) is a one-hand device; b) can send a photo by e-mail in a few clicks; c) takes not-too-terrible pictures; and d) has Bluetooth connectivity to the personal computer -- something has changed in the nature of picture-taking."

"I'm beginning to understand the difference one of these makes. The camera-phone is a device for snapshots. My "real" camera, which certainly needs upgrading, takes photographs. The lower quality of the camera in the phone is not necessarily a permanent condition, but the one-handed click-and-done way you take pictures may continue to divide the realms to some degree."

Yes, Dan definitely gets it. This interpretation of photo sharing on camera phones is obvious when one compares and contrasts the nature of voice calls on mobiles to that of voice calls on land lines. Sure, mobiles can be used for 'normal' voice calls but mostly they're just used for 'snapshot' calls of the, "I be won't be home 'till 8", and "Can you pick up the kids", variety.

posted by James at 6:53 PM


ZDNet |UK| - Bluetooth pushes into new markets: "At this week's Bluetooth World Congress, vendors are looking to expand the wireless networking technology into everything from air conditioners to high street shops"

Now would all you Bluetooth critics please read the rest of that article and stop telling us that Bluetooth is dead!!!

posted by James at 3:02 PM


BBC - Picture phones save doctors time: "Doctors at a Welsh hospital are leading the way in using modern technology to help speed up a patient's treatment. When a specialist is not to hand to make an instant diagnosis, junior doctors are using mobile phones to send picture messages of an X-ray. The consultant can then advise the junior doctors how to proceed immediately."

Sounds great but I hope they have the phone cameras set to high resolution! I can imagine hairline fractures not showing up on photos sent from some of the lower end phones. Which reminds me of something that happened me when I was 17. I sustained a bad facial injury playing hurling (kind of like an Irish version of cricket). The junior doctor pressed on my badly swollen nose and asked if it hurt. No, I told her, it didn't. So I was sent home. A week later I got a call back into hospital to undergo an operation to break my nose and reset it. Turns out that my nose *was* broken but the junior doctor hadn't bothered to analyse the x-rays when I reported no pain. Duh!

posted by James at 1:24 PM


Russ raves about a new IRC chat app he's found for his Nokia 3650. In fact he gets so excited that he loses the run of himself a little in places - "Once all the chat apps on telephones get *this* good, you can kiss SMS and MMS goodbye."

I can understand geeky enthusiasm like that but I think he needs to step back a little like he's done before and examine why this simply won't be the case. The first thing to understand is that 'regular' people don't even use the terminology we geeks use. I've never heard my friends talk about sending or receiving SMS messages. They just call them 'text' messages. And the few lucky ones with camera phones don't speak of sending MMS message, just 'picture' messages.

We techies live in a TLA universe and we need to pinch ourselves every so often to remind ourselves of the real world and real users. IRC is great but how many people know what it is? Real world users will dig the idea of 'chatting' but not 'IRCing'. Who cares what the underlying technology is as long as we can maintain a live dialogue?

That's what was so clever about the Vodafone Live! advertising campaign. Not a TLA to be seen. Just cool dude Beckham and lots of smiley happy ordinary, regular people having fun 'texting', 'picture messaging' and playing games.

That's the first point. The second is that regardless of how mainstream mobile chatting may become it simply won't replace SMS and MMS. To suggest it would is like suggesting that IM will replace Email. They're two different messaging paradigms which each have their place. Synchronous and asynchronous communications are complementary not replacements for one another. Many studies in Europe have found that teens favour texting over talking because it's less intrusive. It doesn't require an immediate answer. The receiver can stay watching TV, or eating, or bopping to the music in the pub, or whatever and just view and reply to the message when it's convenient.

Great review by Russ though ;-)

posted by James at 10:18 AM

wMonday, June 16, 2003

After taking some time to absorb all of those announcements I can formally declare that my new Object of Desire is the Nokia 6600. What an absolute gem of a gadget!

It's like a 3650 on steroids, 6MB extra RAM, digital zoom camera, next version of the Symbian OS (7.0S) and a beautiful form factor. Also supported is Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption for greater security. And built-in corporate-friendly VPN client.

The only bad news it that it's not due to ship until Q3 which probably translates to summer 2004 for Ireland :-(

posted by James at 4:35 PM


My gosh but Nokia have been busy lately! Check the Nokia website for a stream of announcements today -

"Check out these two new phones from Nokia - the curvy Nokia 6600 imaging phone and the luminescent Nokia 3100 phone. Also coming soon: the Nokia 12 GSM module and four exciting enhancements - the Nokia Wireless Clip-on Headset, the Nokia Radio Headset, the 3100 Xpress-on™ Gaming Covers, and the Nokia Fun Camera."

posted by James at 2:06 PM


PacketVideo Corporation today announced that it provides the camcorder multimedia functionality embedded in the exciting new Siemens SX1. The SX1 is Siemens' first Symbian Series 60 phone. PacketVideo was the first company to deploy 3GPP-compliant MPEG-4 video streaming to mobile devices.

posted by James at 1:58 PM


Nokia and Eastman Kodak to enhance picture printing partnership "With the Kodak Picture Center Online, owners of a Nokia 3650, Nokia 7650 and Nokia 6600 camera-phone can save snapshots to an online photo album and order prints, too. Users can also download their pictures and send them via multimedia message to other users."

posted by James at 1:52 PM


Tom Hume spotted the news that Walt Disney is teaming up with Vodafone "to offer Disney-branded cartoons, games and music through the world's largest mobile phones operator. The deal, due to be announced on Monday, aims to exploit growing demand for themed ringtones, picture messaging and movie clips on the latest generation of phones."

Normally this kind of 'walled-garden' announcement would worry me but the end of the Financial Times article reminds us that -

"The Vodafone partnership - together with separate deals signed by T-Mobile and Orange - will give Disney access to 75 per cent of mobile phone users in Britain."

Thank goodness for that.

posted by James at 8:49 AM

wSunday, June 15, 2003

I don't often mention Siemens phones but having taken a closer look at the SL55 that just might change. What a beautiful design. Very like the Nokia 7650 but with much classier touches. Unfortunately there's no camera built in though, only an optional attachement.

posted by James at 1:21 PM


The Nokia Image Viewer, which is a bluetooth enabled device for displaying Nokia 7650 and 3650 images on your TV, looks like a great gizmo until you realise that it can't display moving pictures, only stills. What a disappointment!

When you consider the normal process of preparing home movies for family viewing - shooting, transferring to PC, editing, outputting to tape, and finally viewing, wouldn't it be a breakthrough to be able to just point your mobile at the TV and playback instant video clips. The Image Viewer falls tantalizingly short :-(

posted by James at 1:04 PM