Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sprint's Blackberry team responds regarding MMS protocol

[caption id="attachment_1498" align="alignright" width="212" caption="Sprint Blackberries will never have true MMS for technical reasons."]Sprint Blackberries will never have true MMS for technical reasons.[/caption]

I find it quite frustrating that their Blackberry team even took those still running the Blackberry O/S 4.3 into consideration when they decided to implement MMS.  If O/S 4.3 didn't technically support the MMS protocol from the beginning, then these people shouldn't have had Sprint's half-assed MMS capability at the start.  If they're not willing to upgrade their phones for whatever reason, then they shouldn't be entitled to have these features.

In all honesty, I don't know why anybody would NOT want to update their phone.  O/S 4.3 lacked alot of standard things that had to be filled using third party software.  BBSmart E-mail Viewer was one of those programs that had to be used if you wanted HTML email.

Considering how other smartphones like the iPhone have been providing HTML email since the beginning, it's surprising that RIM didn't include something standard like this when they launched their Curve phones.

In any event, the Blackberry team from Sprint finally answered back about why MMS was implemented the way it is now:
4.5 software was not delayed due to MMS or PictureMail. As stated in previous updates there were some issues in the core code of the software we had to work on with RIM. We released the software as soon as they were resolved.

MMS for inbound messages is working as designed. While the user experience might require an extra click to access the MMS content, it is the best design that could be delivered with the current software configuration. Configuration of inbound MMS is not a per-device setting, and can only be enabled as a global setting.

In developing 4.5/MMS, we had to consider how the upgrade would affect all of our BlackBerry customers, particularly:

  • Devices with software versions prior to 4.5 would not be able to receive inbound MMS for Sprint.

  • Enterprise customer have certified configurations that would be impacted by a global change.

  • Users who are receiving messages before the software upgrade would lose the capability (if we switched to inbound MMS) and would be forced to call Customer Care for assistance in upgrading to 4.5. (not everyone is intimately aware of all the nuances of MMS features).

Using incoming SMS as a transport to get to PictureMail/MMS was selected because it worked best given the setup. It allows all users (4.5 or not) to receive incoming PictureMail or MMS messages with embedded content, even though the device did not fully support our MMS until after 4.5. We are continuing to evaluate how to get bi-directional MMS down to our devices, but our goal was to provide the best possible customer experience given the situation.

Bottom line: There is no switch to flip and enable inbound MMS for all capable users. We wish it were as easy as pulling a lever.



  • - Response from Blackberry team regarding MMS vs PictureMail