MMS, SMS, and M&M’s

As part of a project that I’m working on, I’ve been spending
a bit of time in the world of mobile and cell phones. While clicking around the
ether I became curious about what was going to be the next big thing. That
actually led me to start wondering, if there is a “next big thing” what will it
mean for past big things, specifically SMS, or as you and I know it, text
messaging.

I’ve always been a fan of Steve Smith at Mobile Insider so,
what the heck, I’ll pose the question to him. That question, “What’s next for SMS?”  More specifically, will it remain just a way to talk without using voice or
paper and a way to vote for your favorite Dancing With the Stars
couple or will it become more or…for that matter…less?

Steve’s response was quite simple, “I don’t think that text is going anywhere. Until the carriers get MMS
cross-carrier compatible and alter user habits, they have nothing that is so
compatible, easy, familiar and ubiquitous for users.” This is point that I have
addressed in the past. The massive need for The Easy Button as it pertains to
using a new tool is paramount.

Steve goes on to
say that familiarity and ease is also important. “A lot of people, especially
younger ones, prefer the curt, uncomplicated mode of communication of the SMS
environment.” He continues, “One thing we didn’t anticipate when it comes to
digital communications is how much less is more for a lot of people.” In the
last week, in playing with a new mobile application and juggling the
bowling balls involved in accessing it, I thought, “Texting this would be so much easier.” It’s like my fondness for chocolate; for me, even with all the fancy candy
out there, nothing beats a bag of M&M’s. I know them, I can get them anywhere, and their cheap…easy.

Of course, I’m
always looking for the monetization of our communication and Steve commented, “I
think SMS will remain the main revenue driver for the (mobile) carriers when it
comes to data and a primary trigger for initiating off-deck relationships with
users. It isn’t going anywhere because people like it, know it and have no viable
alternative on the horizon. Everything else is R&D and nice technologies to
wait-and-see with, but nothing even remotely challenges SMS.”

So with that said,
here’s the challenge; how do we push the capabilities of mobile farther without
making it too complicated. What is the next need for mobile users (“almond M&M’s”) and more
importantly, how can we satisfy it simply? Then, who will pay for it? This
platform offers so much let’s not waste it…at the same time, let’s not abuse
it. The users deserve and will demand it.

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