Taking The Upload Out Of The Camera Phone Process
By Mike Masnick, Sat Jul 24 00:30:00 GMT 2004

One of the big complaints about camera phones is that it's complicated to get the photos off the phone. Cognima believes they have the obvious solution: make it happen automatically.

Mobile phones don't have the reputation for being the most intuitive devices. As the devices get "smarter" some say that the interfaces get dumber. Cramming so many functions into such a small device scares off many people, who tend to learn how to do a few key things, and leave the rest to the mysteries of the unread manual. Often, one of the more complex processes on a camera phone is figuring out how to get a photo off of the phone itself. After someone learns how to take a photo, they still need to figure out how to send it to someone, upload it to a server or somehow transfer it to a computer.

A company named Cognima realized there was no reason why this process needs to exist at all. The company understood that when someone took a picture, it's likely they would want it off the phone at some point. Thus, why not take it off automatically? They built a system that will automatically synchronize a camera phone with a server, and invisibly upload the photo, where the user can do what they want with it. The concept isn't new. The Danger Sidekick has always worked via this concept. However, Cognima has made this "Snap" service work on a wide variety of smart phone operating systems, including Symbian, Microsoft Smartphone and the Palm OS.

To show the impact of this simple change, Cognima tested the technology with a group of users to see what happened. The results are very interesting for any operator or handset maker expecting camera usage to become something of a habit among camera phone owners. Cognima's study showed that normal camera phone users end up not being particularly active MMS users. Only 18% of the regular MMS users they followed kept on taking and sending pictures on a regular basis two weeks after the trial began. However, 70% of customers using Cognima were still happily snapping photos. This is a classic example of looking at where the "pain" point is in the process, and coming up with a way to remove it. There's simply no reason that the process needs to be so convoluted for users. By making it so easy that it's automatic to get a picture off the phone, Cognima simply pushes aside one of the biggest hurdles to more widespread camera usage.