Camera phone users have one more reason to smile as Bell Mobility and Sprint launch cross-border picture messaging service
Bell Mobility and Sprint today announced the
launch of North America's first interoperable picture messaging service for camera phone users. Until today, camera phone users were only able to share pictures via the Internet or with other camera phone users who subscribed to the same wireless service provider. Bell Mobility and Sprint are leading the way in bringing seamless picture messaging sharing to North American camera
Allowing users to send picture messages, which can include sounds and text, is also commonly referred to as multimedia messaging. Industry analysts forecast that once multimedia messaging interoperability - or sharing of picture messages between camera phone customers with different wireless service providers - becomes commonplace, its success will rival the dramatic
growth experienced by text messaging, or short message service (SMS), interoperability.
Since the first text messaging interoperability agreements in 1998, the service has exploded: over 500 billion text messages were exchanged globally in 2003 and over 70 per cent of mobile phone owners use text messaging.
According to research firm IDC, 80 million camera phones have sold worldwide to date, including six million in the USA; in 2004 camera phones are expected to outsell digital cameras.
Bell Mobility's customers already enjoy a full suite of advanced mobile applications from Java games and location-based services to picture
messaging, said Kelly Dixon, vice president, Consumer Marketing for Bell Mobility. Working with other industry leaders has allowed us to continue to
introduce innovative technologies to our customers to further enhance their wireless experience.
Sprint has enjoyed tremendous success with our Picture Mail product. In 2003, more than 66 million pictures were shared on our network, said Jeff
Hallock, vice president of consumer product marketing for Sprint. This new agreement with Bell Mobility and LightSurf gives our customers another
audience for sharing life as it happens.
Currently, Bell Mobility and Sprint operate thriving nationwide picture messaging services built on LightSurf's Open Standards MMS Platform, which supports advanced features like online albums, picture frames, enhancements, self-playing slideshows, and more. LightSurf manages the complexities of seamless inter-operator picture messaging including guaranteed message delivery, reporting and charge reconciliation, message optimization and digital rights management.
This announcement marks a turning point in the wireless industry, as inter-operator picture sharing will trigger rapid and wide-scale multimedia
messaging adoption across North America, said Andy Seybold, founder of Outlook 4Mobility. LightSurf's solution enables this innovation by providing
operators a simple and reliable system to share pictures between networks.
Our job is to enable the operators to create and deliver multimedia messaging solutions that are simple to use and offer a compelling end user experience, said Philippe Kahn, CEO, chairman and co-founder of LightSurf Technologies.
We are delighted to help Sprint and Bell Mobility emerge as frontrunners in the race for achieving inter-operator picture sharing in North America.
Jukka Skeena contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.cellular-camera-phones.com.
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