Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What is MMS?

MMS, short for Multimedia Messaging Service is an enhanced form of SMS which can be used to transfer not only text messages, but also pictures, audio and video clips using mobile phones.

MMS messages can be sent to other mobile users or to email addresses. This is another add-on over SMS which can be primarily mobile-to-mobile. MMS can additionally be sent to mobile-to-email and email-to-mobile.

The only pre-condition for sending and receiving the MMS messages is the compatibility of the handset. Any device after Nokia 7650 and Ericsson T68i will most probably have support for MMS. Most handsets available today, which have a built-in camera are also MMS capable.

Sending and receiving a MMS message is pretty straightforward. A sender clicks a picture or shoots a video. He or She can then optionally customize the picture for another message or simply send it across to the intended recipient. The recipient on receiving the MMS message can open it just like a regular SMS message and the attached multimedia file will be displayed automatically. For example, if the attachment was a picture, the picture would be displayed along with the message. Or if the attachment was a video file, the video would start playing when the message is opened.

MMS is a store-and-forward technology, where the message sent by the sender is first received by the MMSC (Multimedia Messaging Service Center). The MMSC then sends a notification to the recipient that a message is waiting to be downloaded. The recipient can choose if he wants to download the message or reject it. If he chooses to download the message, the message is delivered to his handset and the sender gets a ‘Message Delivered’ notification. This is also called ‘Deferred’ delivery.

There is another option available for preventing the delay in receiving MMS messages. It is the ‘Immediate’ option, which is available in some handsets today. The user can choose to select either Deferred or Immediate delivery for MMS.

In SMS, although the messages are routed through the SMSC (Short Messaging Service Center), the delivery to the recipient is direct without first sending out a notification informing the user that a message is waiting for him.

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