Apple iPhone users have have a new way to send photos. They can now use Flutter, a free application that allows users to take a photo and send it to another cell phone.
Until now, an iPhone user could not send a picture to another cell-phone number, although the user could e-mail pictures to anyone.
JuiceCaster, a social-broadcasting service for cell phones, called Flutter the next best thing to multimedia messages, or MMS.
A Small Step
"Being in the business of multimedia and other products with JuiceCaster, we thought why not use the underlying platform we use to send pictures," said Amir Hosseinpour, Juice Wireless senior vice president of product strategy, speaking from London. He said it's just a small step in the company's plans for the iPhone. "We are in the process of porting JuiceCaster to the iPhone, and it just seemed like we were going to take that big step anyway."
It's unclear why the iPhone 3G doesn't have the ability to send pictures without e-mail, but Hosseinpour says there are three schools of thought about this.
One is that Apple's software wasn't ready when Apple wanted to launch the iPhone 3G and it would just add the functionality in new versions. Another thought is that AT&T simply did not want to enable the feature. The third thought is that it was not included for strategic reasons.
Flutter allows individuals to take a photo, address it to cell-phone numbers listed in contacts, and add messages.
The person on the receiving end gets a text message with a link to JuiceCaster. JuiceCaster will host the photo.
Location Can Be Sent
A feature included in the service is the ability to use the iPhone 3G's GPS to show recipients your location. The recipient gets an option to see the sender's location.
"I can also geo-tag my picture, and if I'm out somewhere I can snap a picture and there is a button for them to view where I am on Google maps," said Hosseinpour. "All of that happens automatically if you choose." He said an important part of the feature is being able to opt out of sending a location with the picture.
One caveat, however, is that because JuiceCaster is hosting the service, recipients cannot reply to the sender by hitting reply.
The service is free, at least for now. The plan, however, is to put ads on Flutter. The company said they will be on the client side, and the sender will be the one viewing the ads, not the recipient.
"What we don't want to happen is for the recipient of a message to feel like their friends are spamming them," Hosseinpour said. "That's the last thing they want, and it's a big intrusion."
Because the Flutter app went live Friday instead of along with its launch announcement on Monday, there was some confusion about what the app did, said Hosseinpour. People now understand it.