CELLPHONE company Nokia
has managed to persuade itself that people really do want to use Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS), the all-singing, all-dancing version of simple text-only short message services (SMS).
Market research has confirmed that the majority of cellphone users are excited by MMS, which should mirror the roaring success of SMS, Nokia says.
That the research was done partly in technology-mad Japan and among the cellphone fanatics of Finland may have swayed those findings, but Nokia points out that even in the UK, 75% of respondents see MMS as exciting.
UK users said they were particularly interested in downloadable picture-based services such as travel information, news, games and screensavers.
The study suggests that those MMS services will eventually usurp the more traditional information sources of television and the internet.
The Japanese experience shows how cellphones with builtin cameras will be critical to MMS in the mass market. Among Japanese respondents, more than 90% of camera-phone owners send multimedia messages to other camera phones, while only 68% send their snaps to e-mail accounts.
That is because the great attraction of MMS lies in its immediacy, and senders want the recipients to open the image and share the moment instantly.
The study found that Japanese respondents would prefer more sophisticated services than are now available.
That suggests that once MMS is adopted en masse, it will create demand for much richer content and pave the way for evolving third generation offerings.
That has convinced Nokia that MMS will rapidly evolve into a true mass-market technology for both personal and professional use through services such as photo-messaging, video and audio clips and mobile access to the internet.
In SA, both Vodacom and MTN have launched MMS capabilities, but have so far not reported any figures to show how popular those services are.
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