Thursday

Thursday 28/11/2002Much fun with phones today, as a Sharp GX1 appears. That's one of 'em picturephones, with a built-in camera, GPRS, browser and suchlike goodies.

Thursday 28/11/2002
Much fun with phones today, as a Sharp GX1 appears. That's one of 'em picturephones, with a built-in camera, GPRS, browser and suchlike goodies. The full review will be turning up in due course, but as this is now the third phone like that we have in the office it provoked an absolute orgy of silly photos which we then decided to send to each other. Just like the adverts say. But woe is us! Charles McLellan, the gruff Yorkshireman who controls reviews in this here burg, took a happy snap of himself and Multimedia Message Service (MMS'd) it to me. I got a text message with a long and incomprehensible URL. I sent another picture, even more hideous, back -- and he just got a URL. If you type in the URL to a browser, you get linked to a copy of the picture your friend thought they sent you, but which has instead ended up on a Web site somewhere It turns out that you can't send MMSs between networks. Why, I don't know -- I was of the opinion that telephone companies existed primarily to pass messages to each other, but clearly this is a new and exciting development that's caught them by surprise. The phone handset makers have compounded this silliness: despite both Charles and my phone having built-in Web browsers, the link in the text message couldn't be activated. No clicks, no cut and paste. You had to write it out longhand, then switch to the browser in the phone, then type it in. Despite that, and despite the very variable quality of the pictures themselves, there's enough fun left in the process to make it worth persevering. But it's not like the adverts say, and if there's a consumer backlash when the reality doesn't live up to the hype then the phone companies will have nobody left to blame but themselves.

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