Saturday, 7 January 2012

Alternatives to MMS

A few years ago MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) was going to be the thing to really make the most of Camera Phones, the quickest and easiest way of sharing your photos with a friend or a family member. Sadly it seems like the lifespan of the MMS is almost over, the high cost of the service and size limitations have effectively killed it before it became the success it was expected to be. When Camera Phones first hit the market around the turn of the century few expected phones to advance to the point where they became small and powerful mobile computers (as Smart Phones now are), it's been the move to Smart Phones that has effectively killed the MMS.

Rather than writing a long obitury of the MMS I've instead decided to look at some of the most useful alternatives to actually using MMS, something I quickly did in an old article looking at the pros and cons of using e-mail instead of MMS. Whilst it is true that E-mail is still the prefered way for some, such as myself, it's certainly not the only way, in fact their is so many different ways that I'm not even going to be able to cover them all, just the most straight forward ones.

The most widely used "third option" (behind MMS and E-mail) are the new messenger apps, things such as Whatspp? and Ebuddy XMS which allow you to send pictures, messages and other forms of media over the internet for free. This is a service much like sending images over MSN for example. For this you only need to make sure you and your friend are both using the same messenger service and both online at the same time. Whilst some people may like this method (and some genuinely do use it an awful lot of the time) I've not been sold over to it personally due to fact that I've simply found Emailing to be quicker, though this is likely to change over the coming years as these services continue to improve.

Facebook has been an internet super-power for the past few years and now you can use the massive social networking sites to send pictures directly from your phone to someone on your friends list. To do this you need to use the Facebook "Messenger" app and select it as a "Share via" option (with an Android, I'm not exactly sure with other phones) when you've selected a picture, then slect a friend. This is a bit of a middle line between e-mail and the above messaging apps as this can be recieved on a PC or a Phone (or anywhere else where the recipient can access their Facebook).

You could as a fifth option (and by far the least attractive for some pictures) share them publicly via Social Networking sites like Twitter, Picasa or Google+. If the picture is something you do want to share with a wider viewing public this is a much better option than E-mailing it to a number of people. However on the flip, if the picture is something that you would only like one particular person to see you'd be rather silly to use this option.

As said at the start of this post, modern phones do have a host of other options to share pictures, though I'd say these are the main 5 to look at if you wish to share the picture with someone further a field than the Bluetooth range on your handset. Of course if you are close enough to use Bluetooth I'd reccomend using that instead as it's quicker and much easier than using things like Ebuddy XMS or Facebook.

Where did I get all these extra pictures from?

If you are using a Samsung Galaxy S2 (and I presume any phone running Android 3.5) you may have recently noticed your Gallery has a number of new albums and a host of new pictures, as if they've appeared randomly. What you may have noticed about each of those new albums is they have a small white logo on them that looks oddly enough like the Picasa logo (feel free to visit http://picasa.google.com/ if you wish to check the logo). Now, although I'm not 100% certain, it does appear that the update to 3.5 now allows you to access your Picasa/Blogger/Google+ images directly from your phones "Gallery".

Although I've not done a huge amount of testing with this and it may require specific settings to do, it could well explain why so many people have suddenly seen the amount of images on their phone jump from a few hundred to thousands almost over night.

This shouldn't be a major issue for many people though it is worth noting that all your blogs pictures are now on your phone (which means I have over 600 from this blog!)