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RogerS's Avatar
Posts: 772 | Thanked: 183 times | Joined on Jul 2005 @ Montclair, NJ (NYC suburbs)
#1
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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aflegg's Avatar
Posts: 1,463 | Thanked: 81 times | Joined on Oct 2005 @ UK
#2
Um, you'll need to be within range of a wifi network or else make the call on a cellphone data plan.
And this is the kicker. How much is an unlimited data plan? Data is *expensive*, and the ubiquity of free wifi in the UK is minimal: everyone wants to charge you about $12 *an hour* for occasional usage.

I don't think the tablets here are a real advantage, but then I don't see why I'd want to video phone someone anyway ;-)

However, I do think there's a real fallacy in Nokia marketing that data is free, ubiquitous, quick and reliable. It's not any of those. Not IME.
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RogerS's Avatar
Posts: 772 | Thanked: 183 times | Joined on Jul 2005 @ Montclair, NJ (NYC suburbs)
#3
I've increased the ubiquity level of WiFi by carrying a travel router with me. If there's broadband around (obviously not on the street or in a random store, but when I visit offices or friends), then I can at least make it wireless.
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sondjata's Avatar
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#4
Originally Posted by aflegg View Post
And this is the kicker. How much is an unlimited data plan? Data is *expensive*, and the ubiquity of free wifi in the UK is minimal: everyone wants to charge you about $12 *an hour* for occasional usage.

I don't think the tablets here are a real advantage, but then I don't see why I'd want to video phone someone anyway ;-)

However, I do think there's a real fallacy in Nokia marketing that data is free, ubiquitous, quick and reliable. It's not any of those. Not IME.
I have to agree with you. I'm here in Charleston SC and just about every WIFI point here is protected and/or they want cash to access. It is annoying to say the least to have to pay some large percentage of the value of the IT just to access WIFI for 10 minutes (directions, e-mail).

I have found that Panera offers unprotected WIFI (though recently in parts of the US accessing a company "free" wifi without actually purchasing something in said store is a "crime". Also it appears that IHOP has free wifi with the pancakes. Yay!
 
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Posts: 57 | Thanked: 8 times | Joined on Jan 2007 @ UCNJ
#5
* As I understand it, the phones use a webcam-type second camera for this video and not the photo camera the phones might have.

I wish it was that way. Right now they only offer 3 phones that will be able to take advantage of this. 2 Samsungs and an LG. The Samsung a717 and 727. The LGCU500. The 717 and the CU500 both have cameras that rotate and the 717 I'm guessing has to be turned around to transmit your own mug if thats your wish. That said these all use the main camera as it is the only camera. AT&T has decided to take different versions of devices that lack a second camera for some reason. Perfect example is the HTC Tytan. AT&T went 8525 which is basically the same phone sans the second camera for video calls.
AT&T has an odd idea of what reasonable price points are. Just look at how high the data prices are. They are just now coming to grips with decent sms pricing and they still have a ways to go.
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Posts: 477 | Thanked: 115 times | Joined on Dec 2005 @ Munich, Germany
#6
Uh? Here in Germany, we have had 3G 2-way video calls for the better part of the past 2 years.

Whatever.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that:
-you don't need skype to make video calls. Google talk will work.
-if you try to do it via a cell phone, you will find out that the bluetooth connection is not quite up to the data rate.
-wifi coverage is much, much smaller than 3G coverage.
 
RogerS's Avatar
Posts: 772 | Thanked: 183 times | Joined on Jul 2005 @ Montclair, NJ (NYC suburbs)
#7
I should note that I'm projecting the Skype port to the N800 will come with video capability (but who knows?) and that my conclusions are based on my experience that cam calls with a tablet are way different from similar calls made from a desktop or laptop.

So, yes, Google Talk and Skype both have video with voip calls from your computer today (and from UMPC's). But if you can't carry the cam around, it's not significant.

When will Gizmo and Google Talk add VidIP calls to the N800?

My guess is "after everyone makes a big to-do over Skype VidIP calls on the N800."

Roger
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Posts: 477 | Thanked: 115 times | Joined on Dec 2005 @ Munich, Germany
#8
Originally Posted by RogerS View Post
When will Gizmo and Google Talk add VidIP calls to the N800?
Can't you do video calls over google talk today on the N800?
 
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