Nope, this blog has nothing to do with blue skies, though I have to say that when I was in Seoul, the weather was gorgeous. The title has to do with the actual writing of this blog. In order to have the Korea memories fresh in my mind, I wrote the blogs on my way back home, while I had a connection in Narita airport. During this blog, which is really about MMS as you’ll see, I had my iPod going and “Blue Sky” from the Allman Brothers was playing. Maybe I got into it a little too much, but the nice Japanese couple just next to me moved, and the big guy with long hair and tattoos sitting across from me pointed out that it was me that caused them to move. This blog is for them!
When I read various analyst reports, they continue to tout MMS as a growth area in the mobile value added service space. When I got back home from Korea, it was big news that AT&T was allowing MMS on the iPhone service in the U.S. Indeed, when in Korea, one video technology I saw in applications a few times was use of MMS. While SMS continues to be a huge mobile value added service application, (because it’s inexpensive and also because on the cultural side, it is seemingly both “real-time” and unobtrusive), MMS has not had the same kind of take rate. Why not? Well one reason for sure is because sometimes you just don’t need to send a picture.
I asked my kids a while ago — do you MMS? First of all, they didn’t know what the term MMS meant. But they do know about sending pictures on the phone. They pointed to applications like Facebook, where they can just put the pictures out there for others to look at. But with an MSS, you actually need to send the pictures. They mentioned that they do in fact still send pictures from time to time because their SMS price includes the ability to MMS. And since their phones aren’t data-enabled (parents choice — don’t want them on the Internet all day), and since sometimes they just can’t wait to plug the phone into the computer to update Facebook, (apparently some pictures must absolutely be shared now) they would MMS. So that’s one reason people MMS.
But I also think that if it’s just about picture sharing, then MMS will not reach any lofty projections like I’ve seen in the analyst reports. There have to be apps that incorporate MMS into the app.
For instance, in Korea I saw a social networking application that delivered a “love score” to the phone via an MMS after a phone conversation. It was an interesting use of speech recognition and an interesting use of the video capabilities of the phone. The accompanying picture is what the MMS might look like and you can see there are many nuances to the delivery of the “score”. More applications like this are required to grow MMS.