Calling From The Future

Since my childhood I’ve been a fan of Star Trek. I remember as far back as 1978 watching reruns of The Original Series with my Dad. I was always fascinated with the technology from that show, and other sci-fi TV shows and movies, of being able to talk to someone via a video call. Well, whether you use it or not, the technology is here, the future is here, and I’m loving it.

For about five years now I’ve been using Skype for PC-to-PC calls with family and friends however I remember being able to make video calls as far back as 1999 with NetMeeting on Windows 98. I still use Skype for video calls frequently and sometimes switch between that service and Google’s Video Chat via Gmail. Video chat has been available for a few years now on computers but technology has advanced so much that we now have the capability to have video calls on our mobile phone. That just blows my mind. I’m mean, come on, it’s not science fiction today it’s science fact and that is the coolest thing to me being a fan of science fiction. The iPhone 4 came out last year with a front-facing camera and the ability to make video calls via Facetime. In recent months you also have the option to purchase an Android phone (I think it’s just the Nexus S for now) with a front-facing camera to video chat via Gtalk with more Android phones coming out with the same ability in the coming months.

Currently, I do not own a phone with a front-facing camera (still hauling around the Motorola Droid 1) but I can tell you that my next purchase will be an Android phone with a front-facing camera that will have the ability to video chat. Because I encourage my friends and family to call me on Skype and Gtalk on the computer today I also would like to have that option on my mobile phone too. It’s so Star Trek, man.

So, I’m wondering: If you were to buy a phone with a front-facing camera today, or in the future, would you use the video chat function? I would love to see your vote and read your comments below.

[poll id=”1″]

7 thoughts on “Calling From The Future

  1. ScottW July 26, 2011 / 1:01 pm

    I’ve got the iPhone 4 Ed. I chose it over an Android model at the time because of Verizon’s pre-installed apps that a user cannot get rid of unless the phone has been rooted. Not sure if Apple denied them this or not but after seeing my wife’s Incredible’s battery running down so fast from Verizon apps that could not be killed, I made my mind up pretty quick.

    I like the Facetime function for keeping up with my family. My daughter and son in law both have iPhones so it’s become easy to see what the grandkids have been up to and chat with them. Thing is, it requires wireless for it to work so we have to make sure we’re close to that. Skype for the iPhone is the next choice for when a wireless signal isn’t an option.

  2. ed July 26, 2011 / 1:11 pm

    Yeah. I’ve used Skype on my Droid on the Verizon network (non-wifi) without video, of course, and was really amazed at the call quality.

  3. ScottW July 26, 2011 / 1:21 pm

    Thanks for correcting me Ed. I re-read my comments above and realized I erred on the Skype thing. It’s pretty cool for saving minutes if you’re not on a plan that has a ‘Friends & Family’ thing where you can add up to 10 numbers to call that won’t pull from your minutes.

    I agree that it’s amazing what all these new smartphones can do now a days. What was considered something to develop one day has become reality now. I can only imagine what the future holds for us next.

  4. ed July 26, 2011 / 1:28 pm

    Wait. So you can make a Skype call on the iPhone on the phone network (non-wifi)?
    I honestly wasn’t trying to correct you. I was just stating that I made a call on Skype once on my Droid and thought it was really cool per the call quality.
    I think I remember at one time you could not make any type of video call on the iPhone 4 unless you were on wifi. So you can now?

  5. ScottW July 26, 2011 / 1:45 pm

    It’s choppy but doable. Wifi really makes it work much better. That’s why it’s a last resort kind of thing for me.

  6. Cary July 26, 2011 / 10:01 pm

    I only use Google Chat for video conversations- the quality is great, it’s convenient, free, and doesn’t require a separate app open. I was an early iPhone adopter, but I’ve only used FaceTime on my phone a couple times. Video conversations just seem to be a bit more personal that the usual modes of communication via a smartphone, and I rarely use my phone at home.

  7. ed July 27, 2011 / 7:53 am

    I rarely use my phone also as I absolutely hate talking on the phone. I definitely prefer text messages. But, I still think video calls are very cool. I tell my family that if they need to call me for long conversations to catch up on each other’s life I prefer to use Skype or Gtalk’s video chat. I especially like to do that with my sister so that I can see and talk to my niece and nephew whom I don’t get to see that often. I have found, especially with the family, that it works great as group conversation since I can usually see and talk to both my mom and dad at the same time or my sister and her kids at the same time. I’m trying to get them on G+ so that we all can use Hangout for a big group call.

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