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FaceTime yet to become industry standard one year on

updated 11:10 am EDT, Fri July 29, 2011

No ratifications in progress

Despite promises by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, FaceTime has yet to become an open standard, observers note. During Jobs' 2010 WWDC keynote, the executive said Apple would be "going to the standards bodies, starting tomorrow," with the explicit intent of making FaceTime an "open industry standard." No third-party hardware or software with the feature has yet been announced, and even now no organizations are known to be ratifying the platform.

Early on there was some mild interest in adopting FaceTime by companies like Skype. If Apple were to make FaceTime an open standard it might therefore stand a chance of being widely supported, increasing the appeal of Apple devices, which include FaceTime as a dialing option. Presently FaceTime is only supported on Macs and iOS handhelds.

Why Apple would hold off on opening FaceTime is unknown. A simple explanation may be that the company has lost interest, or otherwise considers it a low priority. Alternately it may feel that the technology is a competitive edge, even though options like Skype enjoy greater popularity. One rumor suggests that Jobs' WWDC announcement came as a surprise to the FaceTime team; if so, the group might not have been prepared to follow through, at least on a quick timetable.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. TylerDurden

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    3G?

    Does Facetime even work over 3G yet? The few times I tried over 3G, it never connected, so I gave up, which means I'll never even use it over WiFi either, since the person I'm calling will need to be on WiFi too, and the odds of that are slim, and I'm not going to call someone and say, "Are you on WiFi? Go connect to WiFi so that we can use Facetime!!!" You can't, you're nowhere near WiFi? Okay, I guess we'll just talk then.

    So I think it's less that Facetime is not being used by other services that's keeping it from being a standard, it's the fact that it can barely be used from iPhone to iPhone because AT&T won't allow it on their network. With all of the iPhone users out there, Facetime would be big news if it can actually be used without thinking about it. Most people know if they're friend has an iPhone, but they for sure don't know what network their connected to at the moment. If Facetime is an open standard, and people were actually able to use it over 3G, I think the use would go up, and then maybe other services would be more interested in adopting it. If you have an open standard that no one can use, then third parties most likely aren't going to be all that interested in it.

    I thought that I heard somewhere that AT&T would finally enable Facetime over 3G this fall, I also heard a buzz that there was a possibility that this would be an extra charge, or higher tier or something to use it. And knowing AT&T, this isn't to hard to believe. So, right now it's AT&T killing the opportunity for Facetime to be a standard by not letting it on their network, and then if they do finally enable it, but somehow see it as an extra service to charge for in the fall, they'll kill it once and for all.

    Hopefully they won't charge extra for it, and it will be a normal part of their service, and hopefully it's not too late for it to catch on, it's a fun option to have,… if you can use it. Apple and/or AT&T is going to have to run a new marketing campaign if it does get enabled, "Remember that cool option for video chat that was announced last year? You can finally us it!!" Otherwise it will still go nowhere since I'm guessing that most people are like me, gave up on it, and ignore it since they assume that it doesn't work. I was done along time ago with, "Wait, let's go to Facetime,… okay are you there, is it connecting? All I have is a black screen. Shoot.. i don't think it's working, are you there. c***, I'll call you back."

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Re: 3G?

    Apple hasn't let it run on 3G yet. And it is Apple, not ATT, because it doesn't run on ANY network anywhere.

    But the problem has nothing to do with the infrastructure. There's no way it will become any type of standard if apple doesn't, I don't know, submit it for review AND open it up. That's what they haven't done.

    Until that happens, it is unlikely that many services will join the party. And I doubt Apple cares. They probably see FaceTime as yet another reason for people to buy iOS devices vs. anything else, and so opening it up just reduces demand on their platform.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Re: 3G?

    The few times I tried over 3G, it never connected, so I gave up, which means I'll never even use it over WiFi either, since the person I'm calling will need to be on WiFi too, and the odds of that are slim, and I'm not going to call someone and say, "Are you on WiFi? Go connect to WiFi so that we can use Facetime!!!" You can't, you're nowhere near WiFi? Okay, I guess we'll just talk then.

    So, apparently everyone you know has one or more iOS devices that they have with them at all times which you can FaceTime with them, it's just they might not be near wifi?

  1. davoud

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    What Apple Doesn't Do Well

    Apple has a long history of poorly performing videoconferencing apps. A friend and I, dyed-in-the-wool Macheads, were absolutely determined to use nothing but iChat. And we tried very hard. It was and is poor compared to Skype. FaceTime over fast WiFi is poor. Apple needs to stop wasting time on these losers and support the work of those who do it better. Nobody's going to jump on a bandwagon that has no wheels.

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