No, People Still Don't Care About Video Phones

from the get-over-it dept

What's with the obsession with trying to sell people video phones? And the media's obsession with writing about them? With respect to Mike's comments about absolute statements, it's hard to think of a single example of any of the highly touted attempts to make money from video calling that have actually worked. But, for some reason, every so often, a reporter trots out a story that makes out the failure of video calling to be a surprise, since what could possibly be better than seeing somebody while you talk to them? Judging by the public reaction to video calling devices and services, quite a lot. It's not the cost of the equipment or services that keeps video calling from succeeding; it's just that nobody cares. Video calling may have some novelty value at first, but it quickly wears off, and it's not apparent exactly why people should be interested. "It's like a phone call, but with pictures" is a marketing message that's pretty clearly failed, time and time again.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Philip, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 9:01am

    My reasons

    It's not that I don't care; it's the "lag" of the video that doesn't give it a real time feel. If I cannot read their lips while talking to them, then it's pointless for me.
    Until video can come across lines as quickly as traditional voice, it won't become main stream.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    topgun, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 9:08am

    computers

    if you want to see someone, get a webcam and some sort of video conference program and use that. generaly they are free.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 9:11am

    No Subject Given

    iChat and the new iMac make video calling a breeze. Works perfect every time.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Stephen Tillman, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 9:15am

    No Subject Given

    I can only see three applications to which these vid-phones may apply:
    1) the situation of a grandparent being able to see, and say hi to, a grandchild who lives hundres of miles away... and do so in "real time";
    2)Business conferences... but then again, those work just as well with voice-only systems;
    3)something for soldiers over-seas to be able to see and be seen by loved ones in (again) "real time".
    Sounds like a whole lot 'o niche marketing to me. Then again, would any "Vid-Phone Cafe" work? Would there be enough demand for the service to justify opening a store for people to come in and use these things? How about a mobile service? "We'll bring the phones in and let you use them". What about the other side of the call? Do they have a vid-phone to see your call?
    Nah... I think until we get to the point of Star-Trek-like display screens and true real-time communications, there's just not going to be any demand for these.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    stizz, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 9:16am

    I want one

    My Moto V551 has a measly 5 MB's of storage. I did not realize this when I bought the phone even though the fact that it played 3gp files was a major factor in the purchase.
    I want a phone that plays and records video. Especially now that I can buy TV shows from apple.
    I can find plenty of video clipage on the web too. www.onegoodmove.org anb www.crooksandliars.com always have great video clips that I can easily convert with quicktime pro and then dump them on my phone. I can even locate older television shows (like old sesame street for my kid) via IRC through www.dejatoons.net
    When my toddler starts melting down, I hand him my phone and seconds later hes chill watching Cookie Monster eat the letter of the day.
    If I can find a model of phone that has decent sized screen and swappable memeory with ipod style mp3 and mpeg-4 playback, I would buy it in a hot second. I do not think I am alone on this.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    pervert, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 9:17am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Well, there is always the wierdo who cant afford internet access beyond dial up and prefers sex hotlines over internet porn, the addition of video phones could revolutionize that industry and satisfy some lower budget porn addicts.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    stizz, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 9:20am

    No Subject Given

    my rant forgot to include the mention that I did not reallt RTFA

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    dan, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 9:47am

    No Subject Given

    I took an embedded systems design graduate class at my university last spring and our project was to design a cellular phone that would be able to be used to transmit/recieve video for video conferencing (not the actual production design, but the spec-ing of the components and some low level design work).

    The whole time, all I could think was who the heck wants a video cell phone? Apparently, nobody does.

    Oh, well got an A anyways.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    vap, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 9:55am

    Re: No Subject Given

    umm I care about video phones and I cant wait till they are main stream

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    The Other Mike, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 9:55am

    No Subject Given

    As has been mentioned - give me a stable and consistent real time every time video connection and i will give you my dollars. people aren't interested in half develped systems, not that they aren't interested period. I would prefer video phones to voice only phones, but not the ones with 2 second video lag or the choppy webcam slideshow, and not the ones that only work with one in 20 phone calls on a sunny day in a major city with no solar flares on a chinese holiday with NASA computers doing the work.

     

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  11.  
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    KerryG, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 9:56am

    For the love of video

    Just like most UberGeeks, with my stunning good looks, winning smile, and perfect hair, of course I want people to see me right when I wake up or after a long day at work. I get enough "face time" with clients, I don't need anymore. More often, I am trying to move clients away from calling me and using IM or email instead so I don't need some cooked up reason to go back to real time conversations for 99% of my communications.

     

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  12.  
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    shnot, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 10:15am

    cell phone porn

    Hahaha, what's the obsession? $$$ I don't need a phone that can record video...that's why I bought a handycam. I've seen the video that you get from phones, it's decent if you're just recording your friend pulling somoenes pants down, but beyond that...i'll stick with my handycam. besides the bleh quality, it's a bit more difficult for someone to steal videos of me getting a bj from my handycam than it would be to take said videos from a cell phone. no thanks.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Jeremiah, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 12:01pm

    maybe not the best comparison....

    Nobody cared about Beta vs. VHS, either. Pr0n was most certainly the deciding influence in that contest.

    If people decide they want pr0n on mobile phones, by God they'll have mobile phones with video so they can get their pr0n.


    Mmmmmm, pr0n.....

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Joe Schmoe, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 12:04pm

    No Subject Given

    Tell why I should get excited [again] about another overpriced "feature" that's use is locked down and is not compatible across networks?

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    BIGJ, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 12:23pm

    video phones

    totally agree. Why in the world would I want a video phone. When I answer the phone at night I sure don't want someone looking at my ugly mug.
    J

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    MLO, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 12:35pm

    No Subject Given

    I never understood the whole multipurpose cell phone thing. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I use my cell for calls. Period. And for urgent ones at that; I don't spend my train transit yakking on my phone.

    MLO

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Pervert Advocate, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 12:44pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    That's right. Perverts need the action, too! Video conferencing with sex lines should be enough reason to buy the vidPhones.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Techno Geek, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 12:49pm

    I agree

    Who would want to see another person during a phone call. I see no real reason for it. The only time a video phone would be valuable would be for troops overseas who would like to see family which would boost moral.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Rojosail, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 1:00pm

    No Subject Given

    Has anyone tried Logitech's VideoCall?
    I found it to be pretty good with very low latency. Great picture and audio quality.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    BioBeing, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 1:13pm

    I care

    I live in the States; my parents live in the UK. We are currently trying to set up WebCams so they can see my kids as we talk. There is a market for this!

    VideoCall gave us good picture but lousy audio - kept dropping. SightSpeed was good audio and so-so video. Just downloaded Skype 2.0 beta to try this weekend.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Stephen Tillman, Dec 2nd, 2005 @ 2:06pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Multi-purpose phones:
    A bit off-topic, but oh well. The purpose of MP Phones (or, Smart Phones, as I've heard them called) was to combine a phone and a PDA. One less thing for us business geeks to carry around. I swear, all I need is a bottle of Bat Shark-Repellant and my utility belt will be ready for crimefighting, what with all the things I keep strapped to me.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Page, Dec 3rd, 2005 @ 8:05am

    Re: No Subject Given

    about 80% of South African internet users still use dialup...vidphones won't 'revolutionize' anything, it would just be something added on that hardly ever works as expected and remains a toy for those that can afford it.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Yehuda, Dec 3rd, 2005 @ 11:43pm

    Video phones

    Maybe because is the real world, we can actually do other things while we are talking on the phone (multitask). With video phones, you lose that capability.

    Video phones seem like they would be useful for three things: introducing new team members at work, seeing your grandchildren, and porn.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Kat o Nine Tales, Dec 4th, 2005 @ 11:05am

    Re: computers

    Topgun has it. My friends who've PCSed to South Korea are using Lingo phones so they have a line back here... but now they only use them to talk to those family members who don't use the internet much. The rest of us got webcams with built-in mics --and I've found that though the VoIP phones don't carry a noticeable delay, if I have an open phone line and an open conference channel (we were trying to set up the cams at the time), the voice comes over the computer speakers slightly before it comes through the phone line (with them on VoIP and me on a cell phone).

     

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