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Since the announcement of iPhone software 3.0, the Internet has been busy picking away at its many builds finding new and exciting features. One feature the OS spelunkers don't have to root around for is MMS. Apple is finally bringing the sought after feature to the iPhone.
Well, not every iPhone, the original iPhone is being left out of the MMS party because of hardware differences. Users still connected via their first-gen iPhone are omitted from this particular firmware update feature. Apple stated at their iPhone 3.0 event in March that there are enough hardware changes from the original iPhone to the iPhone 3G that MMS and Stereo Bluetooth will not be available on the original iPhone. This has lead to speculation that the iPhone 2G can't handle MMS. After some investigation, we found out otherwise.
The original iPhone contains the Infineon PMB8876 modem chip, while its beefier successor uses the Infineon BGA736L16 Tri-band modem which allows for 3G functionality. While Apple doesn't advertise the innards of their devices, iFixit.com has made it their mission to perform gadget autopsies to see what makes our favorite electronics tick.
We asked iFixit.com if they believed the Infineon PMB8876 modem chip was unable to send MMS because of hardware issues. iFixit.com told us that they didn’t think that was the case.
We decided to get to the root of the problem by calling up the makers of the chip--Infineon. We contacted an Infineon representative in Milpitas, CA to uncover the details. The gentleman that answered the phone kindly explained that there is no way the Infineon chip inside the original iPhone is incapable of receiving MMS since that function relies on software rather than hardware.
Finally, after browsing through a barrage of websites in a multitude of foreign languages, we discovered that there are two other mobile phone models that use the same Infineon chip as the original iPhone: the BenQ-Siemens M81 and the BenQ-Siemens EL71. Both of these phones contain the PMB8876 chip. While neither phone contains the multitude of features the iPhone boasts, both are equipped with MMS ability.
We contacted Apple for an official statement, the company reiterated what was told to us at the iPhone 3.0 event in March, "Now the hardware has changed enough between these two devices that not all the features will be available on the original iPhone. For instance, MMS and stereo Bluetooth will not be available on the original iPhone."
The company doesn't state that the original iPhone is incapable of MMS, just that the hardware has changed enough that it won't be getting MMS. It's those changes that could bring a tear to the eyes of original iPhone owners everywhere.