UMTS / 3G standard video calling (or the lack of it!)

One of the new features 3G phones introduced was the front facing camera and the ability to make video calls between them.

As far as I know, this feature was initially a flop: video calling was much more expensive than traditional phone calls which led most consumers away.

In the last couple of years, at least in my country, carriers like Vodafone introduced new prepaid plans that not only allowed free voice calls between phones (using the same plan) but also free video calling (again, between phones with the same prepaid tariff).

I noticed that, thanks to these new prepaid plans a lot of consumers rediscovered video calling and, especially if living away from their loved ones, started to use this feature a lot more often.

At the same time, a lot of people started to dump their old 3G dumb and feature phones and joined the smartphone revolution. Unfortunately most have discovered an inconvenient truth: Most smartphones can’t make the standard good old video calls!

– iOS devices are able to make video calls through data networks (FaceTime) but are not able to make standard 3G video calls.

– Android also do not support natively standard video calling, although is able to do so via Google Talk or Skype.

– Windows Phone just recently started having phones with a front facing camera in the market, but, like Android or iOS, do not support UMTS video calling.

I have to recognize that, apparently, the only manufacturer concerned about this and that’s making an effort to make both Android and Windows Phone smartphones compatible with the old video calling standard is Samsung, as you can see in the video below (made by HDblog)

All other phone manufacturers I had the opportunity to try, such as standard Google Nexus phones (including the Samsung ones), HTC, Sony Ericsson and Apple are not able to do it, which is really a shame, since this was a feature available in older mobile OS such as Symbian or Windows Mobile.

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5 Responses to “UMTS / 3G standard video calling (or the lack of it!)”

  1. saleem india and usa Says:

    i guess sumsang android are the only one with betterr phone.apk to get native video call over umts like.

    but on other android phone when i tried to port sumsand phone.apk which didnt work. in short you need a develpoer to get native video call on android.

    well since most of android phone software are built for US people since they have good internet speed that get most phone for voip suppor.

    well in asian and europe people still love nokia symbian phone du to easy of use plus they get all the good stuff with loger batrry like.

    cheack new nokia symbian phone 701 non window phone. awsone. well it not dual core i guess in asia dual core is not needed as we dont have 100mbs net speed.

    as for all android phone if you see nokia N900 father of all smartphone had skype google and yahoo video since 2009. as well none android phone so far has multitasking like N900

    • qrant Says:

      Yes, I believe Samsung is the only manufacturer currently providing UMTS video calls in all platforms.

      Although I generally like Nokias, and dispite the fact that the 701 appears to be an honest product, I don’t think I’ll ever buy a Symbian phone again: I had several Symbian phones in the past (5230, 5800XM, C5-03, etc.) and unless further updates happen to be awesome, I won’t convince myself again to buy another Symbian phone. 😉

      Thank You for your feedback!

  2. ssj4Gogeta Says:

    Please star this issue on Google Code to help escalate the issue:
    http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=2664
    (You need to be signed in.)
    My Galaxy S does have video call, but I’d like to switch to an AOSP ROM, none of which have video calling because it’s not a part of AOSP.

    • qrant Says:

      Thanks for your feedback, I’ve starred that issue entry in order to help escalate it, although currently I’m not using any Android device! 🙂

  3. Saleem Khan Says:

    Micromax all phone support native vedio call. and even Spice phone too…

    lolz for other phone company

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