It's no secret that the "multimedia messaging service" which was supposed to put money into the empty pockets of starving mobile phone networks has flopped. According to Cognima, which is looking for a different solution, MMS has missed its chance, because it isn't good enough.
The company has launched a new photo-transmit product, Cognima Snap which uses standard GPRS to send pix home. Why would you do that? Easy! - one look at the pictures you get from a modern, megapixel camera, and the same picture as mangled by MMS, and you won't need to ask again. Enough said.
The problem is that if people go to the bother of sending the picture to someone, they're expecting that person to look at it on something bigger than a cameraphone. It will arrive at the other end big enough to print on a full A4 sheet of paper - and if it looks good enough to send, it will probably be tempting to do so.
The result is total disappointment. Nobody who did this would do it again. Instead, you would see what we see in the market: people pulling their phones out, and showing the day's pictures to friends in the pub - but never, ever, transmitting them to Granny, or posting them on their blogs.
"By simplifying the ability to get photos from the phone to the web and using GPRS rather than MMS, Cognima Snap could be a useful tool to stimulate usage of camera phones beyond portable photo albums," commented Mike Grenville of the SMS group, 160 characters.
Grenville is (understandably) pessimistic about the future of MMS. "The original dream that MMS would replace SMS seem as far away as ever," he observes, "and the search for bolt on applications that will stimulate OTA usage goes becomes more vital."
According to Cognima: "The results of a trial reveal that Cognima Snap increased the number of photos uploaded from camera-phones to online photo albums by 14 fold."
Users also visited the online photo album more than twice as often, the company reports, and made more use of the album services, including sending pictures from the album to other phones. "Two weeks into the trial over 70 per cent of Cognima Snap users were still actively using the service, compared to only 18 per cent of the participants using standard MMS to upload their photos.