You've probably used your BlackBerry smartphone to send countless text, or short message service (SMS), messages. Perhaps you even employ your device's multimedia messaging service (MMS) functionality to distribute image- and video-messages to friends and colleagues and/or groups of both.
But did you know that you can compose and send your own personal picture- and video-slide-shows, with timed image transitions and accompanying caption text, using nothing but your BlackBerry smartphone and its digital camera?
Such slide shows are great for sending quick images or video of vacations or getaways to friends and family, but they can also be particularly useful to businesspeople for sending meeting highlights--pictures of whiteboards, charts, etc., and audio snippets from speakers--or action items.
Creating your own MMS slide show via BlackBerry is simple, though most wireless carriers set a limit on how much data can be sent via one text or MMS message, so you might not be able to send as many images at a time as you'd like. For the purpose of this tutorial, I created a number of three-image slide shows, as well as two-picture messages with audio clips.
Follow these simple steps and you'll be sending MMS slide shows in no time at all.
How to Create MMS Slide Shows via BlackBerry
First, you want to type in the phone number(s) of the person or people to which you want to send your slide show. It's not a bad idea to send a test slide show to a suspecting friend first, until you become comfortable with the process.
Once you've got the appropriate phone number(s) typed into your BlackBerry, click your BlackBerry Menu key--to the direct left of your trackball/trackpad--and choose "MMS [Phone Number]" .
A blank message field appears on your device. Scroll down into that blank message body, and again hit your BlackBerry Menu key. Next, choose one of the following options from the on-screen menu:
* Attach Picture
* Attach Audio
* Attach Video
* Attach Voice Note
If you want to attach an image first, choose Attach Picture. If you want to start the slide show with a quick audio snippet, choose Attach Voice Note, and so on.
Pick your second and third slide show item by repeating the process.
When you insert more than one item, you'll see an option beneath the first one that reads "Slide Duration." This is where you set the time you want each individual slide to display for. Slide Duration is set to "5," for five seconds, by default, but you can modify the value. You can set image display time anywhere between 1 second and one minute. And you can choose different slide durations for each slide.
Beneath any image you insert, you'll see a blank space for caption text. It's a good idea to keep caption text as short as possible, to ensure that it displays fully on your recipient's device. If you leave the field blank, your image won't have any accompanying descriptive text.
Should you choose to insert any sort of audio or video content, you'll see a small "Play" button that lets you preview it to ensure it's what you want.
You can also rearrange your multimedia content after dropping it into a message, though the process can be a bit awkward at first, since the controls aren't exactly intuitive. For example, you need to scroll over and highlight the item you wish to move, then click your trackball/trackpad and choose "Move Field." From there, you can scroll your cursor up or down in the message to shift your content into place and click the trackball again to confirm your movements.
Simply click the Menu key again when finished, and send the message like you would any other BlackBerry correspondence. Because MMS messages often contain a lot of data, it can take a few minutes for your message to process. So be patient.
When your recipient receives your MMS slide show and opens it, your content stars "playing" immediately, though Mute and Volume options let them quickly modify audio if the need be. In fact, it's a good practice to let MMS slide show recipients know in the subject line that your message contains audio.
(Note: You can modify your MMS settings, via your BlackBerry Options--typically a wrench-like icon on your home screen--and MMS options item, to block MMS messages and/or customize more specific options. If you're having issues receiving MMS messages, check these options and make sure your multimedia reception option is set to "Always." )