traditionally, text messaging has been much more popular in europe, because it is a part of the gsm network technology (while the united states started with their own network technology). it started out as an arcane feature that most network providers did not even want to fully support, but it has grown into a major source of revenue (with network providers charging ridiculous amount of money per bit), changed the communication culture and even language of many, and because of that has also found its way into other network technologies.
and of course, if people can be reached somehow, marketing people notice that. a recent new york times article about
even though the iphone greatly enhances the mobile web experience (essentially eliminating it by replacing it with the web as we know it), unfortunately its support of other means of communication (such as sms) is pretty weak. this is not a surprise, since apple is new to the phone network world. but come on, apple, properly handling non-ascii characters should be something that a couple of thousands of programmers can successfully implement, even in a first-generation product. i can live with the fact that apple decided that i will not be able to enter non-ascii characters on my iphone, but they also fail at displaying them in incoming messages, and sometimes the sms app simply discards the complete message contents. this is not what a $600 phone should do.
another thing i am interested in is the integration of various communication methods. everybody has clicked on a link on a web page and then has been presented with a message composition window to write and send an email. this is a pretty convenient way of switching between media channels. this is enabled by the mailto uri scheme, which basically defines how to create a web link that identifies an email recipient. i want the same thing for sms, so that people can click on a regular web link (which uses the sms uri scheme) and then be presented with a message composition window to send me an sms. (instead, the iphone claims that
safari cannot open the page because the address is invalid.)
so far, not even skype has recognized the potential of something like that. they don't even properly support the tel uri scheme, which is fascinating given the huge business potential. they should have been the first ones doing it for a long time, because they have had the technology for a while now. well, maybe somebody in cupertino will take notice? and now something completely different from my usual whining and griping:
thank you thank you thank you apple for supporting
tel: uris! it was about time that somebody did something reasonable with the
tel: uris that have been waiting for browser support on my web page for a considerable number of years. so clicking on my office phone number will simply let you call me (if you click on it on your iphone). please don't do it. just look at where i am. thanks.