updated 03:30 pm EDT, Wed October 13, 2010
Pew says phone video calling at 7pc but growing
About seven percent of the US has made a video call on a cellphone, Pew Research found in a study posted today. Although still relatively new in the country, mobile video chat is now large enough to compare to the 23 percent of total Internet users that have used video. The demographics were more likely to include wealthier users making over $75,000 per year but also relatively younger audiences, below 50.
The study occurred between mid-August and mid-September and is likely to have been influenced by the iPhone 4. Apple has made FaceTime a core selling point of the smartphone, including most of its TV ads, and has stressed that it doesn't even require a dedicated app to work. Sprint has been the only other major contributor to mobile video chat in the modern era and supports it only on its WiMAX phones, the HTC Evo 4G and Samsung Epic 4G.
Video calling has existed outside the US almost since the debut of 3G, but it failed to catch on in significant fashion due to the devices and connection quality. Most calling had been limited to devices with very low-resolution (often 352x288) cameras and at poor frame rates. The rapid rise of Wi-Fi on phones, as well as the advent of faster 3G and 4G, has given devices enough bandwidth for desktop-level video calls.
The share of video chat may go up with the appearance of the new iPod touch and possible camera-equipped iPads from Apple. Android is getting its own lift as the new T-Mobile myTouch will have its own support for video conversations.