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Will photo messaging be the next killer app? Handset makers build in digital cameras for snap-and-send viewing.



Late this year, or certainly by next year, consumers will be buying cell phones and PDAs with wireless Internet connections capable of taking and displaying color photographs on the devices' LCD screens. This is already happening in Japan and Europe, while North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere.  is lagging behind in this part of the digital revolution.

Some experts forecast that color displays, combined with the broadband abilities of the new 3G cellular network (so called because it represents the third generation of wireless technology that is 40 times faster than previous standards), will make photo messaging Taking a picture with a cellphone and sending it to someone. A photo messaging phone enables the user to aim it, take a picture and transmit it. If recipients do not have photo-enabled cellphones, they are directed to a Web page where they can view the images.  an immediate and surefire success. Perhaps this will be the "killer app A software application that is exceptionally useful or exciting. Killer apps are innovative and often represent the first of a new breed, and they are extremely successful. For example, in the late 1970s, the VisiCalc spreadsheet was the killer app for the Apple II, providing reason " the industry is looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.
 to stimulate the U.S. cell phone market. Although a Sprint 3G wireless network is expected to be in place in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  later this year, the concept of photo messaging that took Japan by storm uses the existing 2.5G cellular phone networks.

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1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

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 New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 market research firm Jupiter Media Metrix, Japan is ahead of the game, with Asia forecast to spend $2.6 billion on mobile devices and services in 2002, while Europe is expected to generate $500 million in mobile sales by the end of the year. Projections are much lower for the U.S. market, at only $100 million in sales for mobile devices for 2002. On the other hand, Jupiter also predicts, by 2005, mobile products and services worldwide will reach the $22.2 billion mark.

U.S. companies are already carving out profits in the wireless photo-messaging market, and some unusual services are evolving. Cellular subscribers to the big three wireless networks in Japan have access to a library of about 2,000 stock images online at the Corbis Gallery site. For [yen]300 (about $2.30) a month, subscribers can download images and screen savers Screen Savers may refer to:
  • Screensavers, computer programs intended to preserve CRT monitors from "burn-in".
  • The Screen Savers, a technology-oriented television program that aired on TechTV and later G4.
 for their phone displays, or attach selected photos to text messages.

"We launched this service in May 2001, and it has been extremely successful. It's a digital product in a new market that pays benefits to both our photographers and customers. People want to communicate graphically" comments Mark Sherman, vice president of Business Development for Corbis. "There's a passion and thirst for innovative technology by Japanese consumers, as well as a demographic `sweet spot' target market of 18- to 30-year-olds, who love fashion and the latest, greatest content. They use content in images to express themselves in a creative way.

"We see the beginnings of the same kind of U.S. consumer market now. But, the market ultimately depends on the penetration of multimedia-capable handsets, which is the determining factor as to when things are going to happen here. It's a matter of months. Consider that we started the Corbis service in Japan last May, and we expect to hit the $1 million mark during 2002," Sherman predicts.

Multimedia message services go by the acronym MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) An enhanced transmission service that enables graphics, video clips and sound files to be transmitted via cellphones. Developed as part of the 3GPP project, MMS phones are generally backward compatible with SMS and EMS. , while text-only messaging is called SMS (1) (Storage Management System) Software used to routinely back up and archive files. See HSM.

(2) (Systems Management Server) Systems management software from Microsoft that runs on Windows NT Server.
. Messaging--even text-only messaging--is big business.

The great majority of installed cell phones are small-screen, monochrome, text-only devices. Manufacturers are gearing up for a fourth-quarter introduction of larger color screen, photo-capable handsets and wireless palm-size computers that have built-in digital cameras, or directly accept images from digital cameras. Some devices are being hyped in advance, even though they are not yet available in the United States. The hope is the U.S. market will provide lucrative new business for MMS services and equipment, stimulating the entire cell phone industry, which is currently in the doldrums.

Sweden-based LM Ericsson, the world's largest manufacturer of cell phone equipment, announced in April it is laying off 17,000 employees, 20 percent of its work force. It expects to cut 7,000 workers in 2002 and 10,000 in 2003. "It's very much a matter of trying to sweat it out, trying to survive a very hard recession in this industry," comments Ericsson's Chairperson Michael Treschow Michael Treschow (born April 22, 1943, Helsingborg, Skåne län) is a Swedish businessman. As chairman of the board of both Ericsson and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, Treschow is one of the most influential people in Swedish business today. . The main problem, according to industry watchers, is debt-burdened network operators have cut spending because of the slow introduction of 3G technology.

New MMS handsets and cellular phone-friendly digital cameras, however, are appearing in the U.S. market. Ericsson is currently selling the Sony Ericsson T68i Launched in time for the 2001 Christmas season, the candy bar-style Ericsson T68 was the first mobile phone made by Ericsson to have a colour screen, a passive LCD-STN with a resolution of 101x80 and 256 colours. Despite its diminute size (3.94x1.89x0.79 in or 100x48x20 mm, 2.  cell phone equipped with color screen, and, when used with the accessory CommuniCam MCA-20 camera, it has picture-taking ability. The company is now hawking the new Sony Ericsson For an arrangement of Sony Ericsson products, see list of Sony Ericsson products

Sony Ericsson is a joint venture established in 2001 by the Japanese consumer electronics company Sony Corporation and the Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson to make mobile phones.
 P800, which features its own built-in camera, as well as a color display screen. The VGA-resolution photos can be stored in the phone's photo album and e-mailed to computers via the Internet. Two P800 owners can send and receive images from each other using MMS message service. No price has been announced for the P800, but it is expected to be in the $500 to $750 range (www.sonyericsson.com).

Korea's Samsung Electronics Samsung Electronics (SEC, Hangul:삼성전자; KSE: 005930, KSE: 005935, LSE: SMSN, LSE: SMSD) is a South Korean multinational corporation and the world's largest and leading electronics and information technology company.  Co. Ltd. announced the Model SCH-X590 mobile phone with color display and embedded CCD camera See digital camera. , which has a 180-degree rotating 4x optical zoom Changing the focal length of a camera by adjusting the physical zoom lens. All zoom lenses in film cameras and digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras are optical zoom. Digital point-and-shoot cameras as well as consumer and prosumer video camcorders have optical zoom, but they also  lens and 20 different aperture settings. The handset employ's the third-generation CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) A method for transmitting simultaneous signals over a shared portion of the spectrum. The foremost application of CDMA is the digital cellular phone technology from QUALCOMM that operates in the 800 MHz band and 1.9 GHz PCS band. 2000 1X network. The SCH-X590 can archive up to 100 images, post images on a display background, and search through archived images six at a time. Although not announced, the price in Japan will be approximately US$385. The company also reports it is developing an MMS folding handset with color screen and a built-in camera with a 360-degree rotating lens, and the synchronous IMT-2000, a handset that can display motion pictures on a color TFT-LCD TFT-LCD Thin Film Transistor - Liquid Crystal Display  with a color gamut The entire range of colors available on a particular device such as a monitor or printer. A monitor, which displays RGB signals, typically has a greater color gamut than a printer, which uses CMYK inks.  of 260,000, and can transmit live images of the speaker's face during phone conversations (www.samsung.com).

Other companies are taking the camera plug-in route. The recently discontinued Kodak PalmPix is an accessory camera module that clips onto Palm computer models. PalmPix models provide VGA-resolution (640-by-480 pixels) with the Palm ml00 model and SVGA-resolution (800-by-600 pixels) with the m500 PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) A handheld computer for managing contacts, appointments and tasks. It typically includes a name and address database, calendar, to-do list and note taker, which are the functions in a personal information manager (see PIM). . But, alone, the PalmPix did not have wireless connectivity.

Tokyo-based Ricoh Co. Ltd.'s Ricoh Digital Camera Division, West Caldwell West Caldwell, borough (1990 pop. 10,422), Essex co., NE N.J., a residential suburb of Newark and New York City; inc. 1904. It has some light manufacturing. , N.J., and Kyocera Wireless Corp., San Diego, Calif., call the $1,299, 3.3-megapixel (2,048-by-1,536 pixels) Ricoh RDC-i700, "the world's first Internet-ready digital camera." The company recently demonstrated, when operating through the CDMA2000 1X network using Kyocera Model 2235 or 2255 handsets, the 3x zoom lens Ricoh RDC-i700 can be connected directly to these cellular phone models and transmit images at a rate of 153 kbps as FTP FTP
 in full file transfer protocol

Internet protocol that allows a computer to send files to or receive files from another computer. Like many Internet resources, FTP works by means of a client-server architecture; the user runs client software to connect to
 data using wireless 3G network technology. It can operate in a video mode at 320-by-240 pixels at the rate of 10 frames per second (www.ricohzone.com). The camera can also be used with Bedminster, N.J.-based Flarion Technologies Inc.'s flash-OFDM mobile broadband network technology (www.flarion.com), as well as wireless 802.11 networks, and Lucent Technologies Inc., Murray Hill, N.J., 3G wireless network technology (www.lucent.com).

Florida-based Concord Camera Corp., Hollywood, Fla., announced at the PMA PMA (papillary-marginal-attached),
n a system of epidemiologic scoring of periodontal disease devised by Schour and Massler in which the symbols denote the areas involved in gingival inflammation.

PMA Progressive muscular atrophy
 2002 International Convention & Trade Show the Concord Eye-Q IR digital camera, which features wireless infrared beam transmission of images to the Nokia Communicator line of cellular phones (www.nokia.com). The VGA-resolution SLR (1) (Scalable Linear Recording) A line of magnetic tape drives from Tandberg Data that evolved from the QIC Data Cartridge format. See QIC.

(2) (Single Lens Reflex) A camera that uses the same lens for viewing and shooting.
 camera has a 3x optical zoom lens (www.concam.com). Nokia will shortly launch the Model 9290 Communicator in U.S. markets--the phone was introduced in Japan and Europe last year. Camera photos can be viewed on the handset's color screen and then transmitted as an e-mail message over the wireless network to a Web address, or to other phones, if the service provides photo-messaging capabilities.

One company hard at work enabling the growth of photo-messaging is LightSurf Technologies Inc., Santa Cruz, Calif., which engineers imaging, media content, and telecom infrastructure solutions for manufacturers of digital imaging and wireless communication equipment, including image delivery server technology for online content applications (www.lightsurf.com). The company developed LightSurf ephoto instant photo-messaging and media delivery solutions for Kodak, ISIZE, Yahoo Japan, Sprint, and Motorola.

"In our view, the reason photo messaging hasn't taken off in Europe and North America is due to the lack of availability of large-screen, color handsets. We think it will launch late this year, and be huge next year," predicts Robin Nijor, vice president of Marketing at LightSurf. "We've demonstrated the ability to share high-quality VGA (Video Graphics Array) The display standard for the PC. All PC display adapters support VGA, and Windows machines boot up in "VGA mode" before switching to higher resolutions.  color photos in less than 60 seconds over today's 2G and 2.5G networks in North America. LightSurf has a lot of expertise in optimal image delivery. Of course, with 3G networks, we'll be able to do everything much faster. But, we never looked at 3G verses 2G as the reason photo messaging hasn't taken off. It's due to the lackluster user experience on today's devices--typical monochrome handsets don't provide what's needed."

Nijor comments there are only four handsets with color displays currently available in the United States; however, by year-end, he expects to see as many as "12 good, affordable, color handsets" sold in North America. "The timing is perfect, since Sprint, using LightSurf technology, is launching its photo-messaging services (CDMA2000 1X) in the second half of this year. The time has come," he predicts.

Although it supplies LightSurf ephoto technology, the company isn't involved in manufacturing imaging handsets or digital cameras. But when images reach the Web, they hit LightSurf eSwitch servers; and when photos are sent from "your" device to "my" device, LightSurf will manage them, according to Nijor. "We're the brand-behind-the-brand technology and service provider for Sprint, working invisibly in the background. We do the same for Kodak as the instant imaging platform that runs the Kodak Picture Centers," he says.

Among the innovative photo-messaging applications expected by LightSurf in the near future to be instant imaging hits are:

* Photo greeting messages.

* Professional sports and entertainment applications can offer fans exclusive photos of favorite players or pop singers.

* Law enforcement and government agencies can draw on a mobile database of digital identification photos.

* Medical applications could be a boon for residents of remote or rural areas, where telemedicine provides an instant ability to share patient records and diagnostic images with other physicians and clinicians.

It appears the digital technology is ready for sophisticated 3G wireless photo-messaging systems in the United States. The question remains as to whether the nation's consumers are ready for MMS photo-messaging networks.
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Author:DeBat, Alfred
Publication:Digital Imaging Digest
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2002
Words:1694
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