Picture messaging (sometimes called photo messaging) is the practice of taking a picture with a built-in camera on a mobile phone or other handheld device and sending it to another mobile device or an e-mail recipient. Capable handhelds often offer the user the option of combining text and audio with the image before sending. Handheld devices that can take and send photos are available from an increasing number of vendors, including Ericsson, Nokia, Sony, and Verizon. Although capable devices have been on the market for some time, they became popular in 2003 when vendors targeted the mass market sector by offering greater selection and lower prices.
One of the early uses of the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), picture messaging works through an extension to the Short Message Service (SMS) protocol that makes it possible to send images, animations, and audio to mobile recipients and will eventually enable streaming video transmission on capable devices.