Y'herd thisun? 

“According to studies and data from NASA, the US Department of Commerce, and The Enterprise Institute, Inc., the U.S. no longer dominates the space transportation market. In 1974, the United States enjoyed a 100% market share, In 1995, this had shrunk to 30%. [fyi: the Space Foundation reports that in 2009 the US had dropped to 18%]”

from Halfway to Anywhere by G. Harry Stine

Is it really that hard?

TaggedCoding, Flash

I was about to toss my eWeek into the recycling and the pages flipped open and my eye caught a sentence in the review of the GalTab and Dreak:

"Unlike Apple's iOS with the company's comparatively easy access to FaceTime video conferencing, Android users will likely need to wait until 3rd party developers start exploiting the hardware for their own video apps"

It was a Jerry-Sees-GratefulDead-In-The-Dictionary moment.

Yeah, eWeek is another iLoveJobs rag and like them all it will ignore anything good unless it came from 'Tino but this one seemed way over the top.  But then I thought about it.. there really aren't that many apps out there taking advantage of the video hardware (honestly, most apps for Android are like most apps for iStuff, boring rehashes of calendars)... and if that continues then Android FFCs will likely stop being part of the spec.

But is this because devs are stupid or that the platform is harder than iOS?  I don't think so.

Umm... doing realtime video conferencing apps on Android seems to me to be a lot easier than doing it on iOS... I mean, with the AIR runtime and just skinning the Wowza vchat demo can't you pretty much have the whole app done in a few hours?  And easier still, since full Flash is supported in Dolphin and the stock wb, can't you just leverage a web based vchat system?


I've been out of the game for a few months but I spent years coding interaction, video and video chat on various platforms... and Flash makes this stuff pretty darned simple so Androiders really should just start there.  The hardest part for a startup isn't the code (unless they are locked to iPhone) but the back end... which Amazon could conceivably host, Wowza has a load of examples on how they do that now.

Maybe it's time to swipe the dust off of my CS5.

Now, there is another side of this... VideoPhone systems have been around since the 1970s, it's never really been game-over hard to do video calling, be it UDP or RTMP or HTTP or ISDN or POTS, you just have to have common codec on the two ends.

There is a good chance that the reason there is a lack of apps is that in reality there are only two kinds of people who think vchat is important: Paid-By-The-Word reviewers who need a reason for some paragraphs and television commercial producers who can't live without visuals to kneejerk a few sales. However, after the purchase, vchating may not be an app that most customers find useful.  There is a very good chance, proven by years of AT&T satellites to Cisco cards to Kinect attempts, that real people outside of boardrooms don't actually WANT to do video chat.

It is a real possibility.  We all remember that episode of the Jetsons where Jane has to answer a call early in the morning and to do it she had to grab a mask "To put my face on".  Until an app can powder our faces and set up perfect lighting to shadow out the scary parts of our bodies, a lot of us prefer not to expose our images when talking is more than good enough.  Watching someone else is an okay thing, knowing a camera can see what's up our nose every second is another.

Regardless though, never let user needs get in the way of fun tech ;) 

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