MMS Is Not Replacing SMS In Japan

Pointed out by is the news (found at the end of this article) that Japanese users aren’t sending as many MMS messages as expected. They’re only sending one or two a month. This brings up the biggest problem I’ve had with MMS hype over the past few years. People kept saying that it was going to replace SMS text messaging. That made no sense to me, and I discounted the idea of MMS for a while. Text is a very useful way for communicating – which is why most email remains as text. Those focused on MMS replacing SMS are missing the point. MMS allows for a completely different method of connecting users. It’s not about replacing SMS, but letting people do something different and powerful. Often, when the potential for a technology is missed, it’s because someone looks at it and says “oh, that replaces this” and doesn’t realize that it expands the opportunities far beyond what they believe it’s replacing. There’s a place for both SMS and MMS – and thinking of MMS simply as SMS with pictures (or sound or whatever) is missing the point. MMS is more of a platform that lets people do more with their phone.

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