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Communications United Kingdom Technology

Why Video Calling Is a Wasted Feature In the UK 232

Posted by timothy
from the stiff-upper-lips-hard-to-animate dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Technology affects the way we live but sociocultural influences also dictate what technology we absorb into our day-to-day lives. Take video calling on the iPhone 4 for example; it was pitched as an impressive feature, but will people adopt it? According to one British writer, the UK is unlikely to start making lots of video calls because it's awkward and, well, not very British. 'It's not the way we look when we say them, but the way we say them in order to inject the most bile into a negative statement. Or, on our more enthusiastic days, finding the most wryly witty way to say something while indicating that you couldn't really care less about it. This is the reason we've taken so well to Twitter and are better at watching than creating YouTube videos, to put it in sweepingly generic Internet terms.'"
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Why Video Calling Is a Wasted Feature In the UK

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  • Awkward? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tenco (773732) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @02:39AM (#32547504)
    Well, it is. Because you're not smiling in the camera but your peers face - which hasn't a camera behind it but above/besides it. So it always seems that your peer is intentionally avoiding looking at you.
    • There's enough of a separation between the frame of a laptop (where the camera lives) and the video you are watching, that the direction of eyesight being different is noticeable.

      With a mobile device, it seems like it would look a lot more like the person was looking at you, rather than offscreen.

      • by owlstead (636356)

        You are probably partly right. It obviously depends on the size of an object as well as the distance to the object containing the screen & camera. If you've got a camera on top - probably the most used configuration since it's less likely to be blocked - then the angle is directly related to the percentage of your vertical view of the object. I can imagine that a person will have more distance between the eye and a laptop screen than between the eye and telephone screen most of the time.

        Of course, once

      • by sznupi (719324)

        It still probably gets in your way - people are damn good at noticing facial clues during conversation. With hundreds of millions of mobile devices vapable of 3G videocalling, there's quite a lot of opportunity to use videocalling for best part of the last decade; and yet hardly anybody does (showing your surroundings to the other party seems to be semi-common; but that doesn't even require front facing camera)

    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      It may also be awkward because it's a hand-held device. Sitting in front of a PC you can adjust the webcam so that you are in the middle of the picture and forget about it. With a hand-held you wouldn't you need to hold the device at the right angle all the time? I can't imagine that to be a lot of fun.
    • by sznupi (719324)

      What's funny is that Apple has filled a patent some time ago with a solution to this problem - putting camera (or, more precisely, an array of microlense ones) into the screen, between pixels (accidentally, an idea I had quite some time ago; and I'm sure not very original, Apple patent nothwistanding)

      But the way they chose to have their own mobile videoconferencing doesn's use it obviously (well, ok, no technical means yet to do so), which might contribute to even more people being put off by the idea. Mayb

  • by linzeal (197905) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @02:40AM (#32547506) Homepage Journal
    Seriously though, it is not taking off in the United States either. Skype was installed, setup and demonstrated on at least a dozen of my family's laptops this Christmas and the only person that uses it is my Sister. The reasons I have been given is that they don't want to be seen as fat, unshaven or unclean or that they would rather talk on the phone because they don't want to sound weird. Older people seem to think it is a gimmick and young people would rather text you and 5 other people than give you your full attention on a video link.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @02:56AM (#32547600)

      I think the difference that will explain adoption is this - the degree of usability and proximity.

      With Skype, you have to launch the application. Then the other person has to be running skype - if they are not a skype user they are probably not going to do so. Then you have to arrange to have a time when they will run skype, and in the end wasn't a phone call just easier? I don't use skype video calling for just this reason.

      Furthermore, you can call someone with a phone in your pocket when you have to go to a laptop or desktop to make a video call. Again, the phone call (or text) is simply easier.

      But by the looks of things Apple has again, taken an idea that has been around for some time and made it easy enough to use that the level of convenience is nearly the same as a phone call. By the looks of things it's just another option when you are calling someone (and on WiFi), a video option appears and you are video conferencing. There's no setup by the end user, and they can video chat on the device they always have with them.

      That leaves the other factors remaining - will people want to receive video calls at random times? When it's as easy to video as call, will people do so? That remains to be seen. But the first, necessary, step to adoption was to make it no harder than a phone call.

      • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @03:18AM (#32547720)

        One thing I like about voice-only on phone calls is that I can be naked, and the other person has no idea whatsoever.

        The same goes for Internet forums.

      • With Skype, you have to launch the application. Then the other person has to be running skype - if they are not a skype user they are probably not going to do so. Then you have to arrange to have a time when they will run skype, and in the end wasn't a phone call just easier?

        With this FaceTime thing, you both need to have an iPhone 4, and you both need to have be connected to WiFi. I fail to see how this is more convenient.

      • by xaxa (988988)

        But by the looks of things Apple has again, taken an idea that has been around for some time and made it easy enough to use that the level of convenience is nearly the same as a phone call.

        3G phones supporting video calling have been around in the UK for ages (5 years?). It's very easy to make a video call: you find the contact in the address book, and instead of pressing Menu--Call or Menu--Message, you press Menu--Video Call. Still no one uses it.

        For example, here's an article from 2006 noting that video calling hasn't caught on in the UK: article [digital-lifestyles.info].

      • by anss123 (985305)

        But by the looks of things Apple has again, taken an idea that has been around for some time and made it easy enough to use that the level of convenience is nearly the same as a phone call.

        ??? On the last phone I tried video calling with it was no harder than making a normal phone call. Of course, I had to hold the phone so that it could film my face, and the other guy had to be able to receive the call to begin with, but that was it. There was no setup or anything... but if I phoned someone that couldn't view video the call would disconnect. The iPhone might do better on that point.

      • by jfanning (35979)

        But by the looks of things Apple has again, taken an idea that has been around for some time and made it easy enough to use that the level of convenience is nearly the same as a phone call. By the looks of things it's just another option when you are calling someone (and on WiFi), a video option appears and you are video conferencing. There's no setup by the end user, and they can video chat on the device they always have with them.

        That leaves the other factors remaining - will people want to receive video calls at random times? When it's as easy to video as call, will people do so? That remains to be seen. But the first, necessary, step to adoption was to make it no harder than a phone call.

        Uh, no Apple haven't improved anything except maybe the picture quality.

        3G video calls require absolutely no configuration and are just as easy to make as a voice call. The only requirement is that your service provider support them, but since they are a standard part of the 3GPP spec since 1999 pretty much everyone does and that includes international calls. Video calls were intended to be the main hook for getting people to move to 3G in Europe and they are basically a solution in search of a problem.

        Peop

    • We use skype all the time at the office as we're dealing with development teams all over the country and clients all over the world. All our computers and laptops have video cameras, but mostly we use it for voice conferencing. Even then I used Skype on my iPhone a lot as I never seemed to have my headset handy. I do video conferencing maybe twice a week at most between the President of the company and myself (CEO) and I think that was because he had Skype set to open a video link by default. I gave up

    • by gig (78408) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @03:34AM (#32547800)

      The way you see British teeth is how the rest of the world sees US health. Yanks will need whole body avatars to hide their many untreated diseases and morbid obesity.

    • Multitasking (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LoverOfJoy (820058)
      I think the problem with phones is multitasking. I'm often talking on the phone while looking at something else, working on something else, reading, attending to my kids, heck, even going to the bathroom if I'm really feeling the urge and think I can get away with it. People will feel guiltier if their friends can see you're not giving them you're undivided attention.

      With a computer, it's not QUITE as noticeable if you're also surfing while chatting (though you CAN still tell if you pay attention or if y
    • by Kilrah_il (1692978) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @06:46AM (#32548544)

      Well, people here voiced all kinds of reasons why video call aren't useful, but I think David Foster Wallace summed it up best in his amazing novel, Infinite Jest. The book was published in 1996 and revolved about a future USA (~10-20 years in the future). In the following excerpt he gives an assay about why video calls failed (past tense):

      Good old traditional audio-only phone conversations allowed you to presume that the person on the other end was paying complete attention to you while also permitting you not to have to pay anything even close to complete attention to her. A traditional aural-only conversation [...] let you enter a kind of highway-hypnotic semi-attentive fugue: while conversing, you could look around the room, doodle, fine-groom, peel tiny bits of dead skin away from your cuticles, compose phone-pad haiku, stir things on the stove; you could even carry on a whole separate additional sign-language-and-exaggerated-facial-expression type of conversation with people right there in the room with you, all while seeming to be right there attending closely to the voice on the phone. And yet -- and this was the retrospectively marvelous part -- even as you were dividing your attention between the phone call and all sorts of other idle little fuguelike activities, you were somehow never haunted by the suspicion that the person on the other end's attention might be similarly divided.

      [...] Video telephony rendered the fantasy insupportable. Callers now found they had to compose the same sort of earnest, slightly overintense listener's expression they had to compose for in-person exchanges. Those caller who out of unconscious habit succumbed to fuguelike doodling or pants-crease-adjustment now came off looking extra rude, absentminded, or childishly self-absorbed. Callers who even more unconsciously blemish-scanned or nostril explored looked up to find horrified expressions on the video-faces at the other end. All of which resulted in videophonic stress.

      There is a bit more at this link [kottke.org] and a lot more at the book itself, which I highly recommend.

  • by fat_mike (71855) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @02:43AM (#32547522)
    And another crappy ad exchange to a crappy site masquerading as a "news" source is worse.
  • It must be said. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Offtopic or not, what it the glorious melted cheese fuck is up with the new BSA advertisements on Slashdot? Debate over copyright infringement morality and legality aside, advertisements for a whistleblower hotline making a huge point that you will be paid for turning in copyright infringement is really apalling to see. I know slashdot is a place where there are a lot of eyeballs that work in company IT departments and also contain many disgruntled employees with a massive overlap on that venn diagram, but

    • by mrsurb (1484303)

      There are ads on Slashdot?

      Scratch that... there are ads on the Internet?

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      ``Offtopic or not, what it the glorious melted cheese fuck is up with the new BSA advertisements on Slashdot?''

      What's wrong with the BSA?

    • by Draek (916851)

      Well, I've maintained the impression that Slashdot's guidelines when it comes to ads is "we'll take anyone's money, after all its not like our users will actually *see* their ads".

      Even if you don't subscribe or have enough karma to remove the ads, you've still got AdBlock you know.

  • Wasted and wasted (Score:5, Interesting)

    by soilheart (1081051) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @02:51AM (#32547578)
    We've had this feature in Sweden for years now. It was one of these new "cool" features when we got our 3G networks.
    So in the beginning some people used it for the novelty factor, but nowadays it's mostly used by friends who are bored and have nothing else to do than video chat =P.

    BUT. I guess a lot of people with problems hearing still use and love this feature. And as a lot of phones have this built in and the networks support the feature, I wouldn't say it's "wasted".
    It may not be used by the masses, but the most people using it really like and need the feature, and AFAIK there is no large expenses for the carriers/phone manufacturers. So it's not "wasted" as much as "only really usable by a few".
    • Wehave had the feature in the UK for more than 10 years. However, at 50p (USD 0.75) a minute, it is most profoundly un-British.

      At 5p a minute, the kids would love it.

      The telcos are greedy rapacious scum, incapable of using spreadsheets or understanding that price elasticity is a non linear curve. If they had more than two braincells each, their shareholders would be setting fire to the board members as we speak.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by sparrowhead (1795632)

        I've been working for one of the major 3G companies and even with free Videocall minutes packages the traffic only made for a single digit percentage of the total traffic. No matter in what country.

        The only times i used video calls, and i had them for free, was to show the recipient the surroundings i was at. For instance, when i was at a party.

        In most situations where it is convenient to make a phone call it is not to make a videocall. That and not the price is the reason for it's low usage

    • by TyFoN (12980)

      Yeah i don't get why this is called a new feature, my old nokia did this _ages_ ago over 3g. I used it a bit in the start since they had free video calls for the advertising. The fun part is that the iphone can only do this over wifi so its even more useless.

      • by Kizeh (71312)

        My last two Nokias (E-series) and my Sony-Ericsson (K600) from the last half decade have all had video calling. Why this is suddenly new and exciting when Apple finally catches up with the rest of the phone manufacturers with a crippled version of this feature continues to baffle me. ...almost as much as to why US carriers continue to not support it.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      That's not shocking, the technology to do video calls has been around for a really long time and has yet to actually take off. Once the novelty factor wears off, I'm predicting this flops again. People just don't typically want to be face to face over the phone. Sure there's exceptions like in the military when you're stuck on deployment half way around the world, but for most people if they wanted to be face to face they'd just come over. On top of that, as long as this requires equipment that most people
    • by snowgirl (978879)

      Yeah, I wanted to point out that there are BSL speakers, and I'm sure that they really enjoy being able to have a video call.

      The majority of video calls in the US are made by the deaf as well. I had a good friend, and all he had was a blackberry. No need for voice capabilities, that was just completely unnecessary... but if it had front-facing video? He might be down with that.

      Of course, BSL uses the two-handed manual alphabet, so I don't know how useful it would be.. but some is better than nothing. (A

  • couldn't care less (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    note the correct wording: "couldn't really care less"

    It's couldn't care less.... not could!

  • by Rooked_One (591287) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @03:02AM (#32547630) Journal
    They are fruity....

    And they don't recognize a trend coming at them like a freight train. We started using email for convenience. Now that has been replaced somewhat by texting. Now that has been replaced by an even MORE in-personal way of communicating - the most evil thing in the history of the internets - facebook. The "After school popularity contest." People don't want to have conversations with others - they certainly don't want to see someone and have the other person see them - that's what text is for. To me - this is a step backwards.

    Also, it might be good to know i've already deactivated my facebook account, without any qualms - after all, I had "ignored" 80% of people on there because... well - I don't want to hear about your baby's every bowel movement because you are extremely bored....

    And two - its a breeding ground for ignorance. I always posted articles that I thought were.. thought provoking - very few people commented, but WATCH OUT if someone says "I'm going to have sushi for lunch."

    Maybe this whole thing is indicitive of something else, but I think it caters too much to the "me" generation... What are we calling them? Gen Z? I'll tell you right now, Gen Z doesn't want to look at people when they are talking to them, so good luck there apple - I think you just wasted money.
    • Oh don't worry about facebook, to me it's just a useful way to not lose any e-mail addresses & get a somewhat prompt reaction. I DO post stuff I find thought provoking there, and yes, the average reaction is less than the conversations on sushi. But hey, that may have something to do with time. A short comment on s.o.`s sushi is maybe just a way to "connect" again without having any points to argue about.

      About video telephony - you might just want to read David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest". Somewher

    • Bah.. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by msimm (580077)
      I thought the same living in my tech bubble in San Diego before the economy broke. It's easy too look down on things when you and everybody you know don't use it but after moving home while I catch up on bills I'm suddenly finding myself emerged in regular peoples lives. So I set up an account, mostly still ignoring it. There's a lot of senseless crap to it, that's true, but it is pretty customizable and all the device and other cross-integration does make it pretty convenient, even a little useful.

      But wh
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Maybe this whole thing is indicitive of something else

      That not everyone else is as anti-social or socially inept as many of us here?

      I don't think that video calls will become as popular as voice calls or SMS. But people will still use it for all sorts of things, including being a more personal form of communication. People like options when it comes to how they communicate; that's why SMS and email are popular.

      Apple hasn't made a mistake here. They've finally taken steps to make video calling easy enough fo

  • by donstenk (74880) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @03:14AM (#32547692)

    The article makes it sound like a breakthrough by Apple but videocalling has been around for at least 3 years in Italy and has not taken on for a variety of reasons, the main one being that it does not solve a problem the user has.

    Video skype is popular amongst families distributed over various countries mostly because it is free. I don't know, but I think international mobile videocalls are probably not free or cheap.

    I had a Nokia e61 with a front facing camera for years and have not used it even once.

    Dennis.

    • by Meumeu (848638)

      The article makes it sound like a breakthrough by Apple but videocalling has been around for at least 3 years in Italy and has not taken on for a variety of reasons, the main one being that it does not solve a problem the user has.

      Same here, I've had a videophone for four years. I'm pretty sure one day Apple will claim they invented smartphones...

  • Ever since first 3G cameraphone was introduced. I don't think anyone really uses it out of their cellphone. I know that a local telco here in Finland attempted a pilot project with association for dead people where they handed some phones and cheap video call plans - I mean, selling phones to deaf sounds like a great idea if they can just use the sign language over video. Even THAT didn't take off.

    No one really wants to look at your face at least with tiny screen of a cellphone. Cisco Telepresence-style thi

    • by Zarhan (415465)

      dead people

      DEAF people. Although dead would probably be even better customers if you can sell them a montly payment plan...

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Association for dead people would be even more interesting...not totally unexpected, though - it was recently brought into my attention that at least another Nordic place, Norway, has a National Association for Suicide Survivors, apparently.

  • almost everyone has had front facing camera for over an year now, and like 25% networks support video calling. but still nobody uses it. we are just too comfortable with voice-only.
  • 3G phones with video calling have existed in the UK since 2004/2005. Ignoring the iPhone it's hard to find a phone which doesn't support Video calling.

    I own a Nokia 5800 which is capable of video calling and everyone in my family is capable of making video calls, none of us do. I personally don't bother because holding the phone in front of you isn't as easy a having auto answer on my bluetooth stereo headset. For other people the cost of the calls is what's stopping them.

    Whatever the reason it isn't t
    • by pmontra (738736)

      3G phones with video calling have existed in the UK since 2004/2005.

      3 launched in the UK on 3/3/2003 and they had phones that could do videocalls, as they did in all the other countries where 3 operates. However costs and the basic uselessness to look at somebody when talking to him/her over a phone turned videocalls into a redundant feature for almost every single customer.

      The iPad WiFi-only videocall could be successful in a desk environment: you place the iPad close to your computer and you videocall on it while you keep working. You free space on the desktop and you get

  • Redundant (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ultranova (717540) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @03:24AM (#32547752)

    Video calling is simply redundant in Britain. Wherever you are, you can simply say: "Mr. Policeman, could you please forward a copy of this surveillance footage to Mr. So-and-so?"

    • You do have to pay for that though (a small amount but still more than a typical video call), under the Freedom of Information act.

      I think someone has done that to create a short film using a lot of FOI requests and careful timekeeping.

  • by OpenSourced (323149) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @03:31AM (#32547776) Journal

    Why Video Calling Is a Wasted Feature In the UK

    Is a wasted feature in most of the world, for most of the people most of the time. A grandma can want to video talk with her grandchildren, and in business settings can be also very useful, but for most of the people, most of the time, video just get in the way. My wife is now talking with her brother, that lives in other country, and they could video talk, but who wants to. She is playing MahJong while talking, and the brother is packing a suitcase (he has a headphone), so video would just be a damned nuisance.

    My point is, if from the beginning of phoning, all calls had been video calls, we'd welcome the option of just-voice calls as a big liberation.

  • by Misanthrope (49269) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @03:32AM (#32547782)

    Seriously, I could've guessed this after reading this
    http://www.amazon.com/Watching-English-Hidden-Rules-Behaviour/dp/0340818867 [amazon.com]
    This is essentially a birdwatching guide fort the English, which the author finds horrifying, but there it is.

  • I can video call, so can my brother, sister and parents. We don't video call each other. My sister's year old kid, though, we all video call him and make silly noises and pull faces. He loves it. (And tries to eat the laptop, ah well!)
  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @03:49AM (#32547864) Homepage Journal

    Given that there are plenty of YouTube submissions from the UK I suspect the broad generalizations painted in the article are unrealistic. Also I have found some younger Brits to be culturally different in attitude(and wit!) than 30-something and older Brits.

    I suspect cell phone video conference will not be widely adopted for other reasons. Mostly revolving around obvious things like convenience. Texting is convenient because you can do it more discreetly than a voice call, which explains its huge popularity with teenagers. Parents and teachers can't overhear a texting conversation, but they could overhear a video call.

    I suspect video calls will mainly be used by horny teenagers so they can expose themselves to other horny teenagers.

    • by Wowsers (1151731)

      I suspect video calls will mainly be used by horny teenagers so they can expose themselves to other horny teenagers.

      I hope that UK teenagers don't do that, because with the crazy laws the UK now has, they will be up on paedophile (pedophile) charges and get a criminal record.... even if they are married to each other but under 18. It's not like there have never been cases taken to court over this law. The lawyers win from having such a law worded so badly.

      • by Asic Eng (193332)
        Henning Wehn has suggested that in a few years the UK should use the sex offender register at polling stations - because by then it will be the most accurate citizen database in the UK.

        I'm slightly optimistic about the whole thing - sooner or later we will have so many sex offenders that the term will become meaningless in public perception. (In a legal sense it has already become meaningless.)

        • Even now you wonder if a person described as being on the register has basically just pissed against a lamppost while coming home from the pub and been caught on surveillance camera and put on the register because of that.
  • A video call means you've got to stop whatever else you're doing and give your whole attention to the call, look at the person calling etc. I can see my dad loving this for chats to his distant and much loved granddaughters, I can see lovers enjoying being able to look into their loved ones eyes. Hey, just analyse when people video skype each other rather than audio skype and ask what the affordances are there.

    For most of the time voice calls are about communicating a message, or negotiating a communication

  • Deaf (Score:2, Interesting)

    by elsJake (1129889)
    I've seen at least a couple of deaf-mutes using video calls on the bus. I was quite happy to see technology used for something useful.
  • "unlikely to start making lots of video calls"
    If you come from the flash based broadcast/IM with web cam experience, this is just what you want.
    What is holding back to video networking beyond Apple's wifi/Apple to Apple like limits/lock down and your average telco's bandwidth rustbelt upgrade cycle?
    Should a mobile device have flash support for any website to stream to/from, cam support for yahoo, msn, skype, voip, open ip and encryption support eg zfone?
    ie a real computer made small with a dumb packet
  • by cuby (832037) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @04:31AM (#32548014)
    "Take video calling on the iPhone 4 for example"
    Videocalls where supposed to be the killer app for 3G phones. As someone already said, this was in 2002/2003. This was not accepted because of the same reason because SMS are popular. SMS are cheap, fast and more impersonal.
    If it weren't data plans and social networking, UMTS still it would be serving voice and sms.
  • The problem as I see it is that on a video call, you can't hold your phone to your ear.
    That then means that you have to have it on loudspeaker (not acceptable when anyone else is around), or you have to have a headset plugged in.
    Frankly, paying extra, making sure you look OK, and putting on a headset for a call is just not worth it.
    We're just conditioned to hold a phone to our head when we ring someone, and I think that is part of why video calling isn't taking off.
    Bandwidth is a big problem too - and m
    • by Alioth (221270)

      It's not really just bandwidth, it's latency too.

      Since I'm only just slightly out of line-of-sight with Spain and therefore I'm not going to get an FM signal, occasionally I listen to RNE-5 using my phone, and we have a pretty good 3G network here. It drops out every few minutes, the connection fails every few minutes - and this is for sound quality somewhere between AM and FM.

      Voice calling over 3G is likely to be jittery with poor resolution and low frame rate video, and there's likely to be significant an

      • by Alioth (221270)

        Of course I meant *video* not *voice* calling, but then again, voice calling is sometimes a "Hello can you hear me fest" with the mobile networks we have anyway :-)

    • And the fact that a phone can't maintain a voice call in central London (if you are on a train) without cutting out every few minutes makes you wonder how reliable it would be.
  • It's fun (Score:2, Informative)

    by fredrickleo (711335)

    I had video calling on my last phone, here in Korea most phones support the capability.

    Basically, it's not very useful for any actual communication but it can be fun. It's definitely a novelty the first couple of times you use it and occasionally fun after that (usually when drinking). I would say that most people use the front facing camera to take self photos, it's certainly a lot more convenient then trying to position a camera with only a rear facing camera.

  • by AC-x (735297) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @05:39AM (#32548278)

    We've been here before, when 3G first came out in 2003 Video Calling was supposed to be the big selling point, but it never caught on (possibly because it was much more expensive than voice calling, possibly because people didn't actually want to see each other on the phone!)

    Of course all the Apple hipsters will probably want to video call all their friends straight away to show off their new Iphone 4s, but will video calling actually last this time?

    Here's one of the original Three video calling adverts.
    http://www.visit4info.com/advert/3-Mobile-Video-Calling-Hutchison-3G-Network/8771 [visit4info.com]

  • Video calling has been around for a long time, at least 10 years or so. It has never taken off before. Perhaps that will change now that the iPhone has it.

  • blah blah, videophones. It's pretty obvious why no-one does video calls. Who wants to look at pictures of the other guys earhole?
  • I've been loving skype chat. It lets my mum see my baby daughter and talk to her, even though we are on opposite sides of the globe.

  • Skype alone, has more than 10 million users. That is small compared to world-wide voice users, but 10 million is not a number that can be dismissed. My wife uses Skype with voice and video and spends about an hour per day talking to family and friends.
  • Without meaning to upset anyone, the article and a lot of the posts in this thread show an incredible lack of imagination.

    FaceTime is one of the biggest selling points of the iPhone 4 for me. The feature isn't ready for me yet, but I've no doubt it will be before too long. I want to see my children when I'm away from home. I want to show them the stuff that I see (well, some of it). Right now, I have an iPhone; my wife doesn't and needless to say my little boys don't either, but when the feature is opened
  • There new low data cap are the real killer there!

  • How can people's memories be so short? Video calling was all the rage 3 years ago with Sprint Vision phones and many others with front-facing cameras. Guess what, it was a massive failure, for many reasons. For one, people talk on the phone while doing other things, they don't want to have to hold a phone in front of their face 9stupid reality TV speaker-phone calls aside). For two, no one wants to see you answer the phone in your boxers on Sunday morning.

  • "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame. "

    Why does that sound familiar? It seems that everyone here has fallen into the same habit except this time they are knocking Apple for including a feature rather than excluding one. There are two assumptions that are being made here that need some examination.

    1. I can't think how the average person might use this so therefore there isn't a compelling reason.
      How many here have relatives that they like to see more often? Grandchildren? Anybody here deaf or need to sign with others? Remember Apple doesn't de
  • ya know.. as a canadian, i love many things about the brits: the music, the literature, the history.. it is all rich - but what i've never understood is this seemingly ingrained tendency to always want to put people down in clever ways - WTF!?!?

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