Video Chats Coming to Smartphones

Michael Vizard

By this time next year having a video chat on your smartphone could be pretty standard fare.

Making this capability possible first is a new iPhone reportedly on its way from Apple. But if the folks from Vidyo have their way, smartphones of all types will soon be provided with similar capabilities.

The provider of video conferencing software this week added support for smartphones and tablets using ARM processors running either the Android or MeeGo/Moblin operating systems to its software development kit. Previously, the Vidyo SDK supported only Atom processors from Intel, which Intel showcased at one of its most recent developer conferences.

Marty Hollander, Vidyo senior vice president of marketing, concedes that Apple will probably be the first out of the gate in terms of enabling video chat on a smartphone. But he expects that most smartphone manufacturers will quickly follow suit.

The real question is how will telecommunications carriers be able to respond to new video applications on smartphones. Most of the them are already severely challenged when it comes to providing existing 3G and 4G service in congested areas. And while it's hoped that carriers will soon upgrade their existing networks to support next generation smartphone applications, advances in smartphone technology may well be running far in advance of the carrier networks.

This issue, however, isn't likely to stop hardcore fans of smartphones from rushing out to buy their next-generation smartphone. But don't be too surprised if a lot of the traffic, at least initially, finds its way to 802.11n networks as more smartphone users start to discover that available bandwidth really does matter.

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