Originally Posted by oneaburns
I don't think it's appropriate to call something that's been heavily used for the past 6 or 7 years a "passing fad."
Actually, you're wrong. http://www.macworld.com/article/1429...ms_iphone.html
The research from ABI is a paid-for publication, but the MacWorld article cites the relevant numbers.
Global usage of MMS comprised only 2.5%
of all messages sent worldwide
. That's not exactly "heavy usage" as you so described for a technology that is 6-7 years old. But the reason is obvious, MMS is only a protocol for sending data (and not a very good one at that); it says absolutely nothing about the capabilities of the handsets that are sending and receiving, and nothing about the networks that are responsible for relaying and recoding that data so that recipients can actually see it. For example, if someone shoots a 3GP-based video on their device and then sends it to an iPhone recipient, how is the iPhone going to handle the decoding of that video? As far as I know, the iPhone does not have a 3GP codec, which means that AT&T's MMSC is going to have to be responsible for ensuring that the data is recoded to an appropriate format like H.264.
The same goes with photos. My iPhone captures images at nearly 3 megapixels; how does that scale down when sent to something like a Motorola RAZR which has limited screen real estate and not-so-powerful image processing capabilities?
At the end of the day, it's easy to see just why MMS has not
taken off worldwide. Too many variables to deal with. And while there are many phones other than the iPhone that can handle its various MMS data, it's still hit and miss between carriers and incompatible devices. There's just no way to send an MMS with 100% confidence that the recipient will be able to see your message as intended.
Lastly, when people hear "MMS", they immediately think "photos" when it's capable of more than that. Video is obviously one example, but you also can MMS audio clips (from the Voice Memo app), contact cards (convenient when sharing contact info), and map locations. None of this is earth-shattering in its own right, but Apple could easily have stopped at a basic implementation of photo and video messaging only, but instead, extended the capabilities beyond that, making use of all the available functions of the iPhone platform. I think that's a good sign for users.
I agree that MMS-like capabilities are not a passing fad; on the contrary, I think people are much better served with these quick and easy ways to send data to other phones. However, I do think that MMS as a protocol is terrible and I sincerely hope that as the industry moves towards 4G they find a better way to handle that type of data.