Mobile phone, or as Nokia says nowadays “Mobile Multimedia Computer, is emerging as the key device in which user-generated / -originated media content is captured. To growing extent, the portable gadget is also becoming hooked to online services without PC connection. In this, there are still many hurdles to be crossed. I decided to have a full-scale go on this one and try the apps and ideas available online for moblogging. Equipment used: Nokia N70 and Dell D620 + Nokia 6280 for T-Mobile NL.
Option 1: Sending MMS-messages to e-mail addresses of online services
MMS is telco-originated innovation to post multimedia from one device to another and also to online services. I tried posting MMS’s to YouTube, Flickr and TypePad. YouTube MMS-connection works only in the US, thus no success. Flickr allows me me to post messages to an secret e-mail address. This worked fine. But the stupid MMS attaches a lot of unnecessary marketing stuff from the operator, which needs to be deleted in the blog. Wow-factor: 4/10
Option 2: Sending e-mail to service e-mail addresses
Nearly all blogging platforms allow to send posts to them via e-mail. And nearly all modern mobile phones support e-mailing. Thus – logical option would be to send an e-mail to the blog. Tried it with TypePad and worked initially very fine. Then the to some weird reason the images did no longer go through. No idea why. Repeated the same trial with Live Spaces. This worked fine. One stupidity of Nokia’s design popped up with this trial. With otherwise great basic phone 6280 one cannot send bigger attachments than 100k. An 2mpx camera photo averages to 350k with this device. Right. PLEASE NOTE: E-mail apps on mobiles can use quite a lot of mobile data = costs euros. Wow-factor: 6/10, practical and easy to understand.
Option 3: Using mobile versions of online media services
E.g. Flickr offers a quite slick version of its service for online image consumption and uploading. Yet, using it is a painful mobile browser experience (as all usage of mobile browsing). Worked fine, works with any phone with a wap-browser, thus ok solution, not recommended to daily usage. Wow-factor: 4/10
Option 4: Using downloadable mobile client to connect to services
The more I use services on my mobile, the more I believe in the power of client-ware on the mobile. It is totally different to leverage the power of the mobile phones processor instead of being dependant on the browser or the Java2ME-limitations in the phone. Thus, I wanted to scan for small apps I could use to connect to online services and start posting my images and videos. Below are some options:
- Nokia LifeBlog: Lifeblog is probably the most underleveraged mobile application that I have had in my phone. It looks great, has a great use case, is especially in PC a great application. It’s usage and UI was somewhat iPhoneish already in 2004, with bubbles etc. Yet, time has passed and Lifeblog has never reached the popularity it could had. Lifeblog connects to TypePad, but did not bother to try this – too complex for long term usage, must say. Wow-factor: 6/10 (mobile), 7/10 for PC application
- Yahoo to Go: Yahoo to Go is a collection of application that allow me have Yahoo’s selected service on my mobile. The application extends very nicely my N70’s capabilities and hooks e.g. to Yahoo mail on the background. Moreover, it adds “Send to Yahoo”-kind of options to phone’s menus. On the media front, the app supports currently only Yahoo Photos. As this service is “to be redesigned and launched” at the moment, user experience not that good. Yet, the mobile search was very well done. Wow-factor: 8/10 (mobile solution), 6/10 (mobile media integration to online)
- ShoZu: Via Flickr I found the great piece of software called Shozu. In my opinion, this application nearly has it now what it takes to be “Mobile web 2.0-empowered“. It has 1) both Java and Symbian-versions of it (=available to most phones); 2) a great idea for managing “connections” to own services – services are managed online and connections then synchronised to the mobile; 3) usable and intuitive interface on the mobile; 4) a nice pre-set of web 2.0 services available to connect into and customise; 5) support for nearly all main blogging platforms and finally 6) capability to add tags and title to images and videos. Thus, with this application I was finally able to post my initial mobile video to YouTube and also use the same application to post images to blogs, Flickr etc. Wow-factor: 9,5/10, UI could always be better :)
- ZoneTag: Yahoo Research is distilling a proto of their Geotagging service for Flickr. In comparison to ShoZu, this application has an unique feature. It adds automatically the geo-data from connected GPS device or also via the Cell-ID from the mobile telco’s network. Very similar idea to CellSpotting, but much more relevant than just spotting. Moreover, the application proposes immediately after photo-shooting to post the image to Flickr. Really handy feature. Wow-factor: 8,5/10 (UI could be much better, yet, this is a yet proto.
I bet there are multiple more choices for this kind of mobile connections and more applications to evaluate from. Yet, for me the one that I will start using from now on is ShoZu. It really gives me the feeling of being ready to “broadcast” from my mobile. Yet, am I ready in my head to convert my behaviour to be “immediate blogger” – well that’s another issue. At the moment, I feel that there are still some steps to be taken towards this. Yet, will reach there… hopefully :)
Comments, experiences etc. very much welcome on this!