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RogerS's Avatar
Posts: 772 | Thanked: 183 times | Joined on Jul 2005 @ Montclair, NJ (NYC suburbs)
AT&T announced today that it was beginning "Video Share" services in Atlanta, Dallas and San Antonio, with additional markets to come in July and eventually rolling out to 50 cities.

Video Share permits the owner of a 3G phone to transmit live video images to another owner of an AT&T 3G phone in one of the supported markets. The price is 35 cents a minute, with $5/mo (for 25 minutes) and $10/mo (for 60 minutes) plans. The Video Share feature is extra and not part of any AT&T data plan. Only one phone can transmit at a time, but the direction of the video stream can be switched during the call.

The size of the video looks to be something around 176 x 150 (or less) pixels*.

Within the 50 cities that will get Video Share, of course you'll have to stay within the 3G coverage area.

Let's compare that to the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, now and, well, let's say July. Right now you can have two-way visual calls -- each side transmitting live -- with any other N800 owner. The images are webcam quality, at 176 x 144 pixels. If the soon-to-arrive Skype voip package contains video as anticipated, cam calls can be made with any of the newer UMPCs -- that is, someone who can walk around with the same untethered approach of the N800 or a cellphone -- and with the millions of computer-based Skype users with webcams, PC, Mac and Linux. Um, you'll need to be within range of a wifi network or else make the call on a cellphone data plan.

These cam calls are free.

OK, let's recap.

AT&T: Pay $10 every month at a rate of $10 an hour, for one-way video, and only to other AT&T customers with 3G phones. Because it's a cellphone, you can walk around while you talk or pan the camera. You'll have to stay within the 3G coverage area.

N800 Internet Tablet: Free, unlimited, two-way calls, to anyone with webcam and voip. (You have to use Skype, but you don't pay anything to use Skype for these calls.) You and any other webcammed-tablet user will be able to walk around while you talk or pan the cam. And you will need to be within range of your wireless network or with a cellphone connecting to the internet, using your data plan from your own preferred telecom.

Gee, maybe if the iPhone were being offered with this fabulous deal I'd spend more time thinking about AT&T's offer. But, gosh, why would I want to pay, and pay, and pay for something I shouldn't have to pay for? (The day I do that, Apple's coolness factor will definitely have rubbed off onto AT&T. Not yet, baby, not yet.)

* As I understand it, the phones use a webcam-type second camera for this video and not the photo camera the phones might have.
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