MMS NEWS:  LET'S WELCOME THE WORLD OF 'moBLOGS'

MANILA, May 6, 2004 (STAR) TXT IN D CITY By Patrick R. Garcia, BIDSHOT WIRELESS SERVICES --  Camera-enabled mobile phones are becoming more prevalent as the second-hand market gets hold of more hand-me-down units from early adopters and from sales of new mid-priced handsets which now incorporate a camera. Over the Holy Week, I noticed many parents and friends utilizing their camera phones as a tool of choice for immortalizing special moments. I can just imagine the horrid resolution of those photos though. I have stopped utilizing my camera phone function altogether for this reason. I believe the last rare occasion I used mine was to take a picture of the damaged left door of my car after a minor accident mid-last year. What makes me wonder is what all these gung ho cam-phone-totting people do with the images stored in their phones’ minuscule memory? A few surely do send person-to-person MMS photos, but what’s next? I mean most phones can only store up to 30 or so images. A very few may be tech-savvy enough to utilize their phones’ accompanying software and do an image transfer to their PCs via IR or Bluetooth. But what about the majority? Will those images be used just as wallpapers or eventually be deleted to make way for new images?

Let us welcome the world of "moblogs." A blog, by definition, is a diary of one’s personal life but maintained on the Web. It has been around for the last decade but has gained prominence only in the last few years with the introduction of automated publishing systems which simplify the posting process of pictures. A moblog is an offshoot of that, but is a blog posted on the Internet but directly from a mobile phone. Moblogs are gaining popularity as more people use their cellphones to create personal online photo journals. This not only satisfies a subscriber’s need to clear images from his cam-phone, but is a convenient way to store and showcase one’s album to anyone anywhere in the world.

The process of posting a moblog on the Web is so simple to resist. Just snap an image via your cam-phone, input a text message summarizing the image, attach the photo as an e-mail and directly send it from your mobile handset via GPRS to a special type of Web called a moblog. There are a lot of these sites, but the most popular are Moblog.com, Ploggle.com and TextAmerica.com. Upon the receipt of your e-mail by the website, it will then be automatically formatted by the moblog sites’ underlying technology and your image will be posted as a new entry on the website where it is instantly available for public viewing, comment and download.

Cellphone manufacturers and carriers have been paying close attention to this trend, looking for ways on how they can cash in. The carriers hope this will help offset the millions of dollars they’ve spent on upgrading their data networks. Considering the type of MMS traffic currently going through their networks and their handset subsidy costs, carriers will never see their investment back. Cellphone manufacturers are also eyeing the new trend. Last month, Nokia said it would launch a site called Lifeblog that will let subscribers archive cellphone photos in chronological order, along with other data, including text, video and audio. While Nokia’s service won’t actually publish the archived messages and pictures on the Web when it is launched this summer, the company says that’s the next natural step though.

The idea is that moblogs will both keep the novelty from wearing off cam-phone photography and get subscribers like me to keep racking up online minutes on their monthly bills to the benefit of the carriers. The industry is just that desperate to find applications that people will use. So like many people I know, snap away with your cam-phone and give it a try. From the feedback I have been getting, you will end up making lots of new friends just like at Friendster.com.

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Patrick Garcia is the managing director of Bidshot Wireless Services. For comments or suggestions, text your message to 233011 (Globe) or 2430018 (Smart), or e-mail txtcity@yahoo.com.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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