Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Cameras and Phones

I was thinking this morning about how PalmOne might differentiate a mid-range Zire from the T|E. This got me thinking about cameras on PDAs and I realized what the killer app for a consumer PDA might be: Multi-Media Messaging.

You see, the problem with camera phones which use MMS is that they are banned in so many places. But while most people can cope with not taking their PDA into the gym or on a factory visit, they will want to keep their phone one them. So camera phones will not have the big take-up the phone manufaturers expect. And yet, picture messaging is a great idea.

So here is the solution: have a PDA with a decent camera and bluetooth and then put the MMS software on the PDA. That way you can take lots of photos, sort them, store them, easily transfer them to the desktop, and still send them as MMS messages to your friends. And you can take you phone into the gym.

OK, I admit that this is a two-box solution and it seems that the marketing gurus think we all want integrated 'do everything' devices, but they may be wrong. With this two-box solution you can use the phone where you are not allowed a camera, and the PDA, with full multi-media, where you are not allowed to use a phone (aeroplanes, hospitals, libraries, to name three places with phone bans in the UK).

And in a perfect world, the phone will have some basic PIM apps which sync (via bluetooth, of course) with the phone, so when you have to leave your camera-equipped PDA outside, you can still check your schedule and look up a contact.