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Samsung MM-A800 Surprises (And Disappoints)

The Whole "My" Debacle

Those who buy the phone get a 32 MB Trans Flash memory module - a sub-tiny chip with a sheath that can pump it up to fit a mini-SD slot to ferry your pictures onto your computer. From there, you can whip them into PhotoShop, tart them up with Alien Skins and e-mail them to your crew, or whatever you do in the privacy of your own environment. (See more about Trans Flash in TransFlash becomes MicroSD

The first thing to understand is that My Picture Mail isn't free. You may own the camera, and digital "film" doesn't cost a thing, and yes, you're paying to use the Sprint phone service. But if you're having coffee in Tulsa and get the beauty shot of a Cessna Skyhawk landing on top of a tractor trailer and want to send that photo to your wife from your phone, you will be asked to sign up for the My Picture Mail service that currently costs $5 or $15 per month, depending on the plan you choose. In exchange, you get to uncage your pictures from the camera in the only way it can move the attachment without using the Trans Flash. Whether you upload the picture to the My Picture Mail Website or address a message with it to your wife, that picture is making a stop at the My Picture Mail Website. If you visit the site, you will get a short list of online image manipulation effects (rotate, crop, lighten, darken, antique, black and white, soft focus, cartoon, line drawing and comic bubble).

Here's what you get with the two different My Picture Mail plans:

What You Get

Send your wife the picture, but, even though you've just signed up and paid the five or fifteen bucks, you may be better off waiting on sending to any others right away. Instead, upload the picture from the phone to My Picture Mail directly, because of the way Sprint's My Picture Mail deals with your photos. When you get to your own computer, go to the Picture Mail Website, click the "album" with your picture, and choose to "save it to your computer" (download) it. Now you can do as you please with it, as you would using the Trans Flash - but first, delete the photo off the Sprint site, for the heck of it.

When you mail the photo to someone from the Website, or using the message feature from your Sprint phone, a new Web page is created at Sprint's site containing your photo - one that your friend must pick up, and that you cannot get to and delete. That picture itself stays live for 60 days. The recipient is invited to forward the image to others, which creates more copies for them. They can also copy these copies, creating more pages with your image on Sprint's site. Everyone is invited to order prints and to buy merchandise, such as a camera.

Your friend's name, and e-mail address, have become part of your online "address book" at Sprint's Website, which you can delete, but once you mail the picture from the site, that information has gone through Sprint's mail server. I never appreciate it when people mail things from third-party sites. Chances are that not a single piece of spam will follow, but only people who don't know me well (shirt-tail in-laws, etc.) take that liberty with my address - usually to send baby announcements or holiday cards. It's just a cut above the Re: Fwd: fwd FWD letters with my address in a long cc: line. And if you can hold the phone until you get to your laptop or desktop to offload the Trans Flash onto your mini-SD drive, you can shed the loser look of going through anything with a title that begins with "My."

The MM-A800 includes a Pict-Bridge cable for connecting the camera directly with Pict-Bridge enabled printers. It looks like a regular USB cable, but it only works as a Pict-Bridge connection.