Google special event Thursday may bring Android video calls

Google may chase FaceTime with Android video calls

Google today sent notice of a special event at its Mountain View campus on Thursday to unveil a "couple of cool new mobile features" that may bring video calling to Android. While the company has so far only said that mobile product lead Hugo Barra will lead the event, sources suggested Tuesday night that it may be video chat integrated with the mobile OS. A second option raised by AllThingsD may be a clone of Find My iPhone that would help Android owners track, lock down or wipe a lost handset.

A video chat feature would be a quick follow-up to Apple's FaceTime, which may have caught Google off-guard. The option is available on Android phones today, but only through third-party apps such as Fring and Qik that often have to tie either into an existing IM network or have their own proprietary systems. Without any integrated support, Android phone builders have rarely ever implemented front cameras as they wouldn't be useful.

An exception, HTC's Evo 4G, is a possible clue. Sprint's device became the first mainstream Android phone with the feature this spring and was given out for free to all developers that attended the Google I/O conference this past May. A step of the sort would ensure that thousands of Android developers could build video calls into their apps and test it with hardware they already own.

  1. Roehlstation 08/10, 10:06pm

    just how good the multiple carrier, multiple device manufacturer works for them. I'm going to guess many of the handsets may have problems with lack of power / capabilities.

  1. Herod 08/10, 10:28pm

    its called FlashTime. its real original.

  1. wrenchy 08/10, 11:46pm

    a new concept.

  1. sglewis 08/11, 12:12am

    good luck with that. very few phones with front facing cameras. very few phones with froyo. heck, very few phones running 2.1 still. sony just announced a 1.6 phone that hasn't started shipping in the US yet. i'm sure the video support will be in 70% of the phones within the next 5-10 years.

  1. legacyb4 08/11, 09:16am

    Okay, Apple-haters, let's hear all the reasons why this *is* a cool new feature and how it's better than what Apple just introduced in iPhone 4.... (roll eyes)

  1. Raman 08/11, 10:28am

    What's with these technology companies hosting "special events" to try and drum up interest and stock value?

    I could understand if it were seriously a cool new feature or something (as if I can tell the future) but when they constantly show something that their device is doing that a competetior :cough: apple :cough: is already doing then it kinda takes the wind out of their sails for me.

    @sglewis - there's no need for a front facing camera to do video chat. All you need is a mirror behind your phone. No reason why apple or anyone else can't implement facetime or a copy available on phones like the 3GS and other phones with rear-only cameras..

  1. testudo 08/11, 12:35pm

    just how good the multiple carrier, multiple device manufacturer works for them. I'm going to guess many of the handsets may have problems with lack of power / capabilities.

    Um, you do realize Apple is still selling phones without a front-facing camera, right? And that there are millions of pre-iPhone 4s out there that do not have front-facing cameras and cannot support this or certain other aspects of iOS 4?

    Oh, I know. We don't count older phones (even though everyone always mentions how all these Android phone are all running different OSes) since they're, well, old. And we don't count Apple selling the iPhone 3GS still, since it's only a second device, it isn't really fracturing the market, not like those idiot Android makers with all their choices and features.

    And since FaceTime does NOT work over the data network, how exactly does having a single carrier give Apple the edge? Is it because there's only one carrier not letting you use your data plan?

    And why does everyone here think that if the OS has a capability, every device must include support for it? Does it not occur to you that there may be people who don't see the need or want to video chat, and would rather save a few bucks and get a phone that doesn't include a front-facing camera they'll never use? h***, I can't think of a single person who uses the video cameras on their Mac or PC laptops.

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