"Norway has experiences serious growth in the number of MMS messages sent this summer - 160,000 messages in May, 550,000 in June and 1.35 million in July. Given that their population is only 4.4 million, those numbers are fairly impressive, although the fact that Norway's two main providers are offering free MMS messaging until October, may have something to do with it."
Craig Massey, CEO of mobile services company Brainstormhoped, comments on the use of MMS for pomotion of the lastest Big Brother:
As an evangelist of MMS and a passionate advocate of the enormous possibilities it opens up for our industry, it fills me with despair to see such a magnificent opportunity - to introduce MMS to a mainstream audience - so humiliatingly squandered. Had O2 created just one memorable or vaguely cutting-edge message that could be sent virally, then this could have been the year on which people looked back and said, 'Remember that hot summer when Big Brother sent that crazy picture message thingy?'
I've blogged before about the importance of repurposing material for MMS instead of just transmitting without thought to the form factor and nature of consumption. It seems that's what went wrong here -
"The BB messages consisted of tiny images obviously grabbed from video with little understanding of how it would look on a mobile device. These were re-sized with no thought to the main region of interest, resulting in some containing little more than obscure shots of the studio partitioning. They were sent as 'one size fits all', so most phone screens had ugly white borders, wasting of up to 40% of the screen space. Even though the text was inevitably wearisome, it could have been improved by introducing more fun through some sort of exclusive interaction with users. "
"A thought on J2ME's inability to access phone internal handset stuff: maybe this is a good thing. Maybe it's deliberate.
What's the short-term aim of J2ME? To get out there. To be a standard part of every phone as soon as possible.
What's needed for this? Support from operators: the guys who decide what phones to sell their customers. A technology which opens up handsets and networks to all sorts of security risks isn't going to get operator confidence, and isn't going to get sold. One which starts out simple, proves that it's secure, and gradually adds features over time, will get operator confidence, will get out there in great numbers, and will become dominant."
So I started reading this article with the expectation of learning something more about the Series 60 phones. The first category summarised was the Palm phones. No mention there, as you'd expect! The second category was Pocket PC phones, ditto. Next up, 'The Others'. But what's this? Not a single mention of the Nokia 7650 or 3650. Yes, a token reference to the Sony Ericsson P800 but no other acknowledgement of the Symbian family. Wassup?
"Regarding the projections for MMS handset growth, there is an upbeat mood with analysts. At a global level, Forrester expects MMS to account for 32 per cent of total mobile message revenues by 2006. Ovum predicts MMS handset penetration will hit 50 per cent in three years, while MMS messages will account for up to 30 per cent of all person-to-person messaging at a worldwide level."
I got the full version of this article because I'm subscribed to their newsletter but just in case you're not it's worth quoting the the most baffling rant I've yes seen about the upcoming Nokia N-Gage -
"First, the device is huge, comparable in size to an older-model Nintendo joystick. Second, you can't put the device flush against your face to talk, but must hold it almost perpendicular to your head. Third, and perhaps most damaging, the N-Gage is expected to cost consumers $299 -- that's $200 more than a Game Boy Advance, and far more than most heavily subsidized cell phones cost these days. Finally, expecting people to play networked games over the current cell-phone network (where max speeds in the United States hit 30 to 40 kilobits per second) is simply ludicrous."
Jeez, what kind of games does Mr. Hellweg expect people to be playing on these devices? Stereoscopic mega-worlds with 90 miles an hour action in True Colour? He must be blind to the fact that online ubiquitous gaming is a revolution, even when all the data you're transmitting is the movement of a chess piece. Take off the blinkers lads, playability doesn't depend on super-duper 3-D worlds. And playing against real people will always be more fun than playing against a computer.
[Aside: I remember when I was working with Apple Computer (Ireland) way back in 1995 that between 6 to 10 of us regularly stuck around in the evenings to play a networked-Doom type game for the Mac, the name of which I can't remember. Even though the graphics were rudimentary by today's standards it was by far the most gaming fun I've ever had. Blasting the guys in the opposite cubicle to 'kingdom come' sure beat pulling the head of a souless avatar]
"Vodafone says that it is the first mobile operator in the Netherlands to offer interoperability with all three other Dutch mobile operators. Vodafone customers can now send MMS messages directly to and receive MMS messages from KPN customers."
Among the interesting tidbits picked up on by picturephoning.com from a CNN article, is that the sales figures for camera phones in Europe are lowest in Ireland.
This may seem strange considering that we Irish have amongst the highest worldwide SMS usage levels and ARPUs for the operators. But when you learn that a quality camera phone like the Nokia 3650 has only been released here in the last few weeks, many months after most of the rest of the world, you might understand why. No need to rush with those fancy phonecams while the operators are still milking the SMS cow.