AT&T debuted the first wireless videophone service in the United States. Don’t get too excited because this is not a full-blown video calling – the live streaming video feed is just one-way, and callers have to manually switch feed directions. Both users can see the Video Share while participating in a two-way voice conversation.
Currently, Video Share is only available in Atlanta, Dallas, and San Antonio. Starting late July, the service will expand to 160+ U.S. markets. At $4.99 a month for 25 minutes, $9.99 for 60 minutes, or 35 cents per minute, pricing is a bit hefty. Ultimately, Video Share will be accessible on all three of AT&T’s “screens” — the wireless device, the PC (CallVantage) and the TV.
The biggest drawbacks of Video Share are:
- Both users in a call have to have a phone that supports Video Share (currently only the Samsung A717, the Samsung Sync, and the LG CU500v).
- The Video Share feature has to be activated in order to use Video Share in a call.
- For Video Share calling, both users have to be within AT&T’s 3G network coverage.
- Questionable User Interface of having the camera on the front side, the backside, or available on both sides via a rotating camera, on the phones.
- Users are generally concerned about their privacy and don’t want the other side to know where they are at, especially on the go.
To top it off, video calling in other countries have not been successful. While some of these drawbacks will be rectified over time, concerns over privacy of users will limit Video Share to a few scenarios.