Saturday, April 11, 2009

Even more interesting news regarding Sprint, Blackberries and MMS

A user on the Crackberry Forums recently posted about how his Blackberry Curve phone was getting embedded pictures when receiving MMS.  For awhile a lot of people thought this user was trolling as other users were claiming this without providing us any evidence.

Well user asdf002 wasn't lying.  In fact he/she posted pictures as well as a YouTube video showing the embedded picture in the message.

Comes out user asdf002 has the Blackberry Curve 8330m.  You might be asking yourself what's new or different with this model vs the regular 8330 model?  Not much really.  The main differentiation is that the 8330m models use MEID (Mobile Equipment Identifier) instead of ESN (Electronic Serial Number).

With this 8330m, it enabled Sprint to easily identify the newer model blackberries and push out the service books that enabled incoming MMS.  Now granted this isn't "true MMS" as the pictures are still running through Sprint's picture mail servers.  User jverity on the BuzzAboutWireless forums said:
It is not True MMS.  It just gets delivered to the phone directly.  It is still going through a Pic Mail server.  This is provable by the fact that even those people who are getting direct delivery can still go to the pic mail site and see the message they just received.  The complaints I have gathered from all these threads are as follows, in what I think is the order of importance:

  1. Delivery method - Having to go to the website to pick up the MMS.

  2. Outages - When the pic mail servers are down (which happens way more often than other carrier's MMS outages) you still do not get your message.

  3. Delivery delay - Going through the pic mail servers delays reception between 30 seconds to 5 minutes when compared to any other carrier.

  4. Certain message types do not come through properly because of the way the pic mail server handles them.

  5. Certain images have their quality downgraded by the pic mail server, supposedly because it is trying to save storage space.

  6. Your media is stored indefinitely on a server that has been hacked before and there are still instructions out there on the internet on how to break in to other peoples accounts.

Regardless of the fact that it's not true MMS, it might as well be the same thing.  For me the important thing was actually receiving the pictures directly to your phone − without having to jump through hoops.

I posted on the BuzzAboutWireless forums asking if it were possible for us early adopters to have our phones SKU manually reactivated or refreshed on their network so that the network would see our phones the same way the 8330m phones but it doesn't seem possible .  Sprint employee halcyoncmdr replied to my question bascially saying "No that won't work" and gave his reason why:
No, the SKU itself on the new devices is different. The 8330m is entered into the system separately than the regular 8330. If you have an original 8330 then you will have what all the other 8330 users have. If you happen to have an 8330m then you get the newer experience receiving the picture directly because that is how the network sees it, separately from the original 8330s.

Despite people claiming that corporate customers won't be affected, the fact is they will be. If they are used to a specific system, changing that system will adversely affect them, even if you believe the Picture Mail system is inferior. Changing the system when they are used to it will change the way things work.

Lets be realistic here, if a corporation using Microsoft Windows discovers that their systems are vulnerable to some exploit, they wouldn't ignore it, they'd upgrade or patch their systems to avoid it.  The same rule should apply with the MMS changes here.  These changes most certainly would benefit the corporate customers in the long run; but I think what it comes down to is that Sprint doesn't want to devote anymore money or manpower then necessary dealing with the situation, seeing as they're hemorrhaging at this time.

With the backlash and endless threats Sprint has received from their Blackberry community regarding their shitty Picture Mail service, you can only pray they won't make the same mistake again.  The highly anticipated Palm Pre phone which is expected sometime before the 2nd quarter of this year claims it will have MMS capabilities but I have to wonder if that will actually be "true MMS" or not.  Seeing as Sprint has a reputation for leaving their customers high and dry, it doesn't look promising for the Pre community as well.

We shall see.