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Thursday, May 20, 2010

My First Video Call

[update: reformatted the post]
In today's world you'd almost want to bite back "dude video calls are ancient history... lame." But come on, who makes regular daily video calls. Do you? I'd love to hear on what device, on what network in which country :-)

I made my first ever (decent) video call a few days ago. I say decent because I have a vague recollection that I may have attempted a video call in the past, but it either didn't work, or was of too rubbish a quality to really consider a success.

Anyway it went like this. I usually tote a first generation iPhone, but today (because I need to use TomTom and had to update the satellite info) I had to put my one and only SIM card into my rather aged HTC Kaiser (TyTN II).

At some point during the day I pressed a strange little button on my Kaiser's dial screen by mistake, and suddenly my face popped up. In a couple of split seconds I figured that I'd hit the video call button, and the front-facing camera was displaying my mug (to me). It would  presumably also have been displaying it to the other party, but then I saw that I had dialled my Voicemail.. :D.

But then I thought I'd try a video call with my mate for a laugh. I did so by selecting his name from my contacts then hitting the on-screen video call button.

Then it happened ;-))) within seconds my mate's grinning mug appeared in view, and there was my smaller face in the same place it was when I video-called my voicemail a moment ago.
What amazed me straight away was two things: 1) how cool it was making a real video call, that had actually worked right through to being able to see my mate at the other end just like a Skype call, and 2) how seriously decent the quality was. Ok, it's obviously a 3G network, but the quality was seriously good enough that if you're on an unlimited 3G plan, which I am (speed is only 128kbps by the way - as far as I know) then we should all be making video calls as of yesterday!

Remember, we were both using fairly old phones! I was on an HTC Kaiser which I bought something like 3 years ago (when it was just out) and my mate had an oldish LG, the Secret (TU750). It just so happens that both phones had front facing cameras, so that's a must at least, but they don't need to be the newest phones on the market. The 3G just needs to be decent I reckon.

Will I be making more video calls? Well I can't declare an all-out YES DEFINITELY, but nearly. The sound was a bit poor, but that's cos we were both holding our phones in front of us talking into them. A headset is essential, especially because talking to one's phone from 20cm is a bit weird, and not really suitable for making a call whilst using public transport, or sitting in the office. A headset would sort that problem out perfectly though.

So I may put it to the test. Just need to sort out the following:

- Get my old bluetooth headset up and running (even though they make you look like an idiot) ..ok, maybe i'll use the wired one ;-)
- Try to love my HTC Kaiser again like I do my first-gen iPhone (that's gonna be realllly hard - have you seen Google Reader for iPhone?!!)

Please comment if you make video calls or would like to share any video call experiences. :-)

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