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KT-Tech Challenges Nancy and MPEG-4 for Wireless Video 134

Posted by timothy
from the rise-of-the-pants-cams dept.
Robert Gallagher writes: "Last week, at http://www.kttech.com/comp.html, KT-Tech released a demo of their video codec running at 32 Kbps. According to the web page and discussion on comp.compression, this codec is 'symmetric,' meaning encoding is just as fast as decoding, and that both can be done in software and in real-time. While Nancy is getting good press for its light decoding cost, KT-Tech is apparently trying to get into the two-way wireless communication market. One question to ponder: Would we really want cameras on our cell-phones?"
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KT-Tech Challenges Nancy and MPEG-4 for Wireless Video

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  • by Baalam (163817) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:22AM (#2737143) Homepage
    answering the cell phone while visiting the restroom...
  • pr0n (Score:5, Funny)

    by jargoone (166102) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:24AM (#2737148)
    Would we really want cameras on our cell-phones?

    Kinda brings a new meaning to the term phone sex doesn't it?
  • by ruvreve (216004) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:24AM (#2737149) Journal
    Putting a camera on a cell phone would be another tool to aid in describing what a user is looking at. Having done my fair share of over the phone tech support it would be nice if the user could take a screen shot of what they are trying to describe and send it via cell phone. Yet another step closer to me not having to drive into work.
  • does it scale well enough for corporate video conferencing?
  • Symetric ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kigrwik (462930) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:27AM (#2737161)
    > "Symmetric" means that encoding the video is as fast as decoding.

    Well, it *could* also mean that decoding is as slow as encoding :)

    Besides, do we really need yet another proprietary video codec ?
    If it's effective, it won't take long for it to migrate to webcasting, movie previews, etc...
    See how often QuickTime is used, and how compatible it is w/ Linux, won't we risk the same thing again ? and again ? and again ??
    • This does risk having technology NOT reach consumers because too much self-interested tech decisions bottle up useful inventions in useless patents.

      What does this mean? Someone finally wins the battle to get their format used in cell networks (note I did *not* say "wins the battle to invent a suitable codec" - that's just time and engineering). No problem with licensing as far as the hardware is concerned - it's just part of the cost of the phone. But now if you want to integrate it in, say, a universal instant messaging framework, the licensing fees become crippling, and for most of the world, the technology is withheld from them for an additional 17 years! Now, weren't patents supposed to benefit the public?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:28AM (#2737165)
    As a digital camera owner, I carry the thing just about everywhere. The phrase "A picture tells a thousand words" is so true ! Short of photography, as a hobby, having a digital imaging device that's portable is really handy. Can't remember your bios settings ? Don't have a pencil+paper handy to copy them down ? Simply take a photo of the screen, and continue to boot into your OS of choice.. Taking pictures of whiteboards after meetings, remembering settings/manuals, photos of hard to reach server backs, etc. -- all useful.

    Since digital cameras allow you to take and re-take pictures, film isn't necessary. I often mail friends pictures of things I've taken while walking into work. Having a camera that connects (or is on) a cell phone would be great. That said, a word of caution, if it can't produce at least 1024x800 pictures, it won't be worth a damn.
  • I want one (Score:3, Funny)

    by glowingspleen (180814) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:28AM (#2737167) Homepage
    I want one, that way when some jerk rips off my phone, I can get a good image for the police without him realizing it.

    • Re:I want one (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Proud Geek (260376)
      I know I've always wanted a camera on my phone that the police could activate remotely to spy on me, just in case it gets stolen.

      Wait a minute, no I haven't.
  • japan (Score:5, Informative)

    by mliu (85608) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:30AM (#2737173) Homepage
    Admittedly the Japanese are a very tech-gadgety type people, but here in Japan newer cellular phones have still cameras on them and people love them, they're pretty popular, so that kinda answer the poster's rhetorical question. I can only imagine that moving cameras will be even more popular. All modern cell phones here have beautiful color displays, and it's pretty sweet being able to take a picture of something with your cell phone and then send it to your friend's cell phone where it can be instantly viewed. Not necessarily super useful but pretty fun, especially among the younger set.

    And NTT DoCoMo's quasi-3G service (FOMA) has full bidirectional motion video, so that addresses the original post more directly. Quality could be better, but they are those video phones you always see in sci-fi, and mobile to boot......main thing that's keeping adoption low is that at the moment their service is only available in the Tokyo region last time I checked. Maybe since then they've added a few more regions, but service is pretty limited still. But I recall reading an article about how DoCoMo was surprised by how large demand was still, with it surpassing their initial estimates, so I guess adoption on those is going just fine too. Right now it's mainly geared at businesses, with the hype surrounding applications like using the camera to show progress at the work site to be people back at the office and things like that, but as price comes down, obviously it will become more mainstream.
    • by larien (5608)
      it's pretty sweet being able to take a picture of something with your cell phone and then send it to your friend's cell phone
      Hrm, I can just see the uses for some couples... Who needs polaroids? :)
    • Of course one would need to be in a fairly quiet setting to be able to hear and be heard via a phone that is being held at arms length pointed at the user. Otherwise the caller would just see a picture of somebody's ear canal the whole time.
    • "...it's pretty sweet being able to take a picture of something with your cell phone and then send it to your friend's cell phone where it can be instantly viewed. Not necessarily super useful but pretty fun..."

      This would be very useful, for example:
      • You're debugging something over the phone, help-desk-like-stuff. The user on the other end can't describe what he sees very well. "No problem, just send me a picture of the screen."
      • You come upon an accident and need to call for help. Why not shoot the dispatcher a picture to help determine what rescure resources might be needed?
      • Ah, good old blackmail/insurance. Take a picture of someone doing something unethical or illegal, and zap it off to a few friends for safekeeping. If anything happens to you, the pictures get published. (Maybe I watch too many movies)
      • Torture your friends back in Wisconsin instantly with "Wish you were here in this tropical paradise like I am right now..." photos.

      And so on...
      • by mliu (85608)
        Ah, good old blackmail/insurance. Take a picture of someone doing something unethical or illegal, and zap it off to a few friends for safekeeping. If anything happens to you, the pictures get published. (Maybe I watch too many movies)

        I mentioned this in a previous story already, but since you bring it up, I'll mention it again. Hehe, the advertising campaign for these still picture phones here in Japan is actually centered around this application. The commercials all go something like:
        Guy is supposed to be meeting Girl, but instead is sleeping at his desk. Girl's Friend sees this and whips out her trusty picture phone, snapping a picture and sending it off to Girl. When Guy shows up to meet Girl, he gives some lameassed excuse that he was very busy, and is so very sorry he is late. Girl whips out her phone, and shows him the picture of him snoozing at his desk, leaving him stammering and stuttering to try and cover his ass. Outside, we see Girl's Friend doing a victory dance as the theme music comes up for the commercial.

        Pretty funny stuff really; I'm sure that my description makes it sound pretty lame, but they're actually some of my favorite commercials on TV. Not quite the blackmailing evil bad guys type blackmail that you had in mind haha, but blackmail none the less. Hehe, selling products by playing on people's desires to conive and scheme against each other.......
        • Sorry but that's not blackmail at all. Now if she wanted something in return for not showing the picture to his girl it would be.
  • Neat. (Score:5, Funny)

    by glowingspleen (180814) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:31AM (#2737176) Homepage
    That's cool...we really needed another level of distraction for idiots that use cell phones in the car! Beep beep.
    • Maybe they should make cell-phone cameras mandatory in cars, mounted so that the person at the other end can see out the front window and shut up when traffic situations arise.

      I once saw a driver, engrossed in a phone conversation, making amazingly stupid turns and moves back and forth in the middle of a large street crossing. If the other person had seen his manoeuvers I'm sure he or she would either shut up or say "What the hell are you doing?" Healthy.

      Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.
  • This would be an awesome technology to have. I can imagine someone asking me where I am, and simply holding up my phone to aid them in giving me detailed directions. Or a being at an event I want to share with a friend, simply hold up my phone and let them in on the action. I like the idea of being able to show someone what I am describing, and conversely be able to see what someone is trying to describe. There was an article about satellite video phones on slashdot recently and how they are being used in Afghanistan. The same thing is possible with these cell phones. If you are in the right place at the right time, You can get live coverage from inside to the TV networks, live! Imagine being taken hostage at a bank robbery and dial into the local news station with your cell phone!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    J-Phone in Japan already has camera phones. Right now you can only take still pictures though. Here [impress.co.jp] is the phone I got. I just wish I could use it in the US.
  • Nobody wanted them in 1950 when they first came out.

    Nobody wants them now.
    • Actually there are some cases, with *mobile* phones when a visual input would be helpful.

      "Which flowers do I buy ? The red ones, or the yellow ones ?"
      "I don't know, do they match the living-room ?"
      "Hmm... not sure"
      "OK show me...."

      "Hello, it's me, I can't seem to find your house, can you give me directions ?"
      "Where are you ?"
      "err...can't say exactly..."
      "OK show me....."

      There are countless cases when getting visual info would be helpful.
      But *please*, remember to leave the video off by default !
      • I am not sure this will help people improve their communication skills...
        It may help, of course, but not for such trivial things.
      • I cant figure out which part I need, is it this model or this model? Oh, im on the wrong row!

        Attending meetings remotely (and cheaply)

        Sitting in a waiting area, watching some tv (with tivo!)

        This is "Bob Johnson" from News 11, and we witnessing the Bank robbery LIVE!

        Ok MOM, unplug that bundle of wires, ok, yes, the red stripe goes towards the power, ok, put back in the case and put the screws in. Ok, you now have a larger Harddrive.
    • Of course, it would have been prohibative to run that many coax cables to every home (you can only fit so many channels on one cable). Of course the telecom industry wants us to use video phones, but I don't really see why it is necessary. Right now we have the ability to easily send voice messages or use internet based telephone systems, but I still prefer to use e-mail.
  • My thoughts (Score:2, Interesting)

    by c_g_hills (110430)
    The video quality is too low to be really usable. I find the VP4 [on2.com] codec much more usable. Besides, most mobiles these days still dont have a color display. Perhaps more compression could be achieved by converting the video to grayscale.
    • The VP4 codec is developed for an entirely different market. For it to be useful for videoconferencing, the cell phone has to be able to encode in real-time.

      I'm sure they could achieve more compression by converting to grayscale, but if the bit rate is already low enough to send using cell phones, there is no need to reduce quality further.
  • yes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by johnjones (14274)
    oh and for fscks sake its not the codec that matters

    all and I mean all codecs cant do video at 9600baud.
    (go on talk about asci if you must)

    really you need high speed connections

    then why dont you use a standard like MPEG ?
    hard to compress boll*cks ARM 7 systems can do it (all future systems will be ARM11 or StrongARM2 aka Xscale based) and the hardware exists so that you pipe raw in one end of DSP and get MPEG out the other its done to death TI who are THE phone chipset people have it down to a T

    this is nothing but marketing you HAVE to have a standard !
    MPEG is it (select your version) handset people are not going to switch to useing a certain type unless its a standard and everyone has fair access

    sorry but this is not the way its going

    regards

    john jones
    • I can tell someone didnt read the site.

      They have a short demo of thier product, comparing
      KT-Tech 32 Kbps, 8 fps
      MPEG-1 56 Kbps, 8 fps
      H.261 32 Kbps, 8 fps

      KT-Tech looks better than MPEG1 and at lower bandwidth. This is what they are selling.

      If everyone had FAT 1meg pipes, we could use another codec, but the idea is the lowest codec with realtime encoding, with a good picture.

      Standards are not always the best choice.
  • by JThaddeus (531998) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:39AM (#2737208)
    Okay, I guess I am just out of sync with technology but, despite having been in this business for 20 years and online since MILNET/ARPANET in the mid-80s, and despite having written and managed a web product [mindwrap.com] for 5 years, I have absolutely no interest in being connected 24x7. The only use I have found for my cell phone is being able to run to the mall and still get a call if the church youth group needs to tell me that my son broke his leg. But I do not give that number to my coworkers or customers and have told more than one boss that I will under no circumstances wear a beeper.

    What on earth do I need with portals that dump me stock reports faster than I can trade or palm pilots that link me to recipe web sites (or even SlashDot?). I go along with the Chicago economist and Nobel winner Milton Friedman that palm pilots are stupid technology--multi-hundred dollar items that take merely the place of a 49 pad of paper and a stubby pencil. This, I know, puts me out of step with almost all my coworkers but so be it.

    So, what do I want in a cell phone? Not stock quotes; not web access; not images; not even (are you listening Nokia?) centipede! I just want to be able to be reach or be reached by my kids or wife from wherever I am and not have to worry about the g**d*** out of service area or all lines busy messages! Is that to much to ask?
    • Around here (Norway) I have never had a situation with all lines busy. You have to be at some rural place, like in the mountains to get out of service area (whether this is a Good Thing[tm] is an open question).

      So, I want to go further. No, I don't picture my cellphone being a small desktop. What I want is e.g. to tell my cellphone what I want for dinner today. The cellphone connects to my home server, which launch an investigation. First it figures out what I have in my fridge. Then, it figures out what I need to buy. Then, it connects to the websites of all the food stores in the vicinity of my location at the time and parse their prize lists. Then it reports back to my cell phone where the closest store that has the stuff at a reasonable prize. Then, I go there. That is what I want the cell phone to do.

      Yeah, and if he computer industry hadn't undermined the real ideas behind the web, this would have been reality years ago.

  • by posmon (516207) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:39AM (#2737210) Homepage
    fantastic! so depending where on the phone they put the camera, you can either look down my ear or my throat. enjoy!
    • either look down my ear or my throat.

      The relentless progress of technology is truly astonishing. Now they've achieved something that nobody, absolutely nobody would ever believe possible: A technology that may convince geeks to wash their teeth and their ears.

      Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.
    • Or up your nose.

      Think about it: Hold your PDA as you normally do. Pretend that there's full-motion live video of your mother. Hi, Ma!

      Now pretend there's a camera in it. Where is that camera pointing?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just tried it - lots of times their demo clips are giving 30fps (although the clips don't have an Audio)..

    You'll need the player from KT tech web site.
  • So, you know those calls were your friend puts her phone in her pocket without locking the keypad, and accidentally calls you? Now you get to SEE the inside of her pocket, instead of just hearing it...

    -josh
  • Honest Demo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by devnullkac (223246) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:53AM (#2737254) Homepage
    Whether or not this technology takes off, at least they have honest demo clips. The "IndianHead" clip shows a wide variety of dynamic video and has frame rates that drop down as low as 0.4 fps when the stream has trouble. Even the "Butch" clip has an assymetric background which causes the left side of the speaker's face to be less detailed than the right side.
  • Sorry, I've had enough doses of the popular 1984 book. The new thing you know your teleprompter in your house will be watching all our moves. Oops, thats already here and its called a computer. ;(

    -GG
  • by stankulp (69949) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:58AM (#2737275) Homepage
    There is already a lot of anecdotal evidence that the proliferation of cell phones and the consequent ability of witnesses to contact police while a crime is in progress has been one of the primary reasons for the drop in crime in recent decades.

    With a video camera/cell phone, they could also be recording evidence to be used at trial.

    Violent public crime would become obsolete, and violent criminals would find it hard to remain free.

    • With a video camera/cell phone, they could also be recording evidence to be used at trial.

      I have long wondered about this. Since the recording uses lossy compression (which alters the original image), will a court allow such images into evidence? I would guess the quality is sufficient to determine what happened, but I would be quite leary of using it to identify a suspect.

    • If the left finds out about this, they'll immediately outlaw cell phones like they've tried to outlaw all firearms and most other forms of self defense.
    • > Violent public crime would become obsolete, and violent criminals would find it hard to remain free.

      Here's the thing people forget. Criminals are criminals for a reason. They do things because they don't think of the consequences. They don't know the difference between right and wrong. Their right is your wrong. You think all 'public violence' is committed these days because criminals calculate their probability in getting away with it?

      Technical solutions to social problems don't really work, as much as we like to think they do. You might shuffle the numbers around, but you cant wipe out behaviour thats entrenched in a species for thousands of years with a new gadget.
  • by SanLouBlues (245548) on Friday December 21, 2001 @11:01AM (#2737289) Journal
    A look at k-tech's still image compression [kttech.com] shows them touting the advantages of their image format over jpegs. With jpegs of what both formats look like. They aren't the best marketers.
  • YES... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    As everyone can guess... that can be a very usefull tool for the "minimal" human rights... as if everybody has a camera and is sending a video feed elsewhere... you got my drift...
  • by gjhart (90952)
    What I want is a cell phone in my camera. Snap a photo, send it right to the server, no worries about running out of space.
  • Do we even need cellphones ?

    That's the question :)

    Having resisted buying one until only 2 years ago, in a country where cell-phone mania is an intense occupation(africa), I find myself wondering exactly how much I really need one.

    Don't get me wrong - I love gadgets, or rather, I often covert (as in thy neighbours ass) gadgets, but once I get them, it's usually a let-down.

    What do I use my cellphone for ? - A limited 'email' tool(sms), or occasionally (if I have the bucks) to phone someone.

    Do we really need them ?

    Well, we didn't before, but now they've reached critical mass, your a sucker if you don't have one.

    Christ sake, there's beggars here in Africa who have bloody cell phones !

    So now we'll all be getting video soon - the next big thing - I can see it being big bucks in the Pron industry, but for everyone else ? - A novelty that'll chew your cell-phone battery life.

    :D

    I mean cmon, in this 'new age' of communication, surely we should all be 'p2p' without any corporate intervention, via radio-waves ?

    Loverly thought... :D - Internet access as free as radio !
    • I mean cmon, in this 'new age' of communication, surely we should all be 'p2p' without any corporate intervention, via radio-waves ?

      I belive we already have this technology. It's called a "walkie-talkie".

      C-X C-S
  • These sound like the 'go-phones' from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai.
  • Danger [danger.com] is making what they call a "Hiptop" which is phone/pda/blackberry all rolled into one. They are making a camera device for it...and even more beautifully, it comes with Java, so you can write your own applets for it.
    • Uh oh, another "gadget bundled with a service". Generic gadgets result in brutal price competition and declining low end-user prices. Proprietary services result in monthly billing that increases over time, "cramming", obnoxious EULAs, and spam.

      Creates a direct connection from your wallet to our bank account!

  • Their still image compression comparison is *seriously* flawed.

    I ran the hawk through GIMP and compressed it to roughly (slightly under) the size they had, and got an image at *noticably* better quality then their jpeg. Of course, they also didn't provide uncompressed (well, png) images for comparison, so I didn't have a real source image, but they're still cheats.
    • FYI, I recompressed the original TIFFs [kttech.com] that an AC pointed to below, with PMView [pmview2000.com]. I got a 3.4KB image at 4% quality and saw almost exactly the same result. Maybe GIMP is totally kickass, but I'd wager that you just ran into one of the quirks of JPEG encoding, that it may perform better with a lower quality image, such as the already processed KTT image. If anything, that may just reflect positively on the efficiency of the KTT codec.
  • ... I want cameras in cell phones. How else am I ever gonna get that Dick Tracy watch?
  • Video conferencing under linux at the moment is somewhat patchy to say the least. Perhaps new CODECs will ease the situation.

    OpenMCU mainly works but sill suffers from stability problems dittio gnomemeeting.

    The ISABEL project ( http://isabel.dit.upm.es/ ) is probably the most functionally complete suite right now but is hampered by a seemingly slow release cycle and annoying compatibility issues.

    Another good one to take a look at is OpenMASH ( http://www.openmash.org ) which is a rehack of the old (very old!) VIC application.
  • Yeah, I want a cellphone in my camera.... umm
    No, I meant a lawnmower in my watch...
    Wait a minute, I really meant a Russian Corvette in my laptop. Yeah, that's it...
  • I'd argue it's the network operators that want the cameras on the phones, not the users. And it's not for any user benefit :)

    European operators in particular paid obscene amounts of money for the rights to radio spectrum for 3G networks. Now they have to recoup their costs. Can you think of anything that would run on a cellphone and would use up huge amounts of data, thus leading to nice big phone bills for users to pay? Well, the only thing that operators can come up with is video.

    So, the operators tell all the handset people they want cameras to do video teleconferencing and send still pics as MMS/email message attachments. The handset people badly want to sell phones to the operators, so they go do it.

    Doesn't matter if it's useful :)
  • What? What does Slashdot care about lubrication?

    And who is Nancy?
  • Stupid question (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nr (27070)
    One question to ponder: Would we really want cameras on our cell-phones?

    Do we realy need color screens on out PDAs? I remember the first cell-phones that had no displays at all. Today you can get a phone Nokia with high-res 4096 color screen like the Ipaq. One can ponder the usefullness of cameras in phone. But in the wonderful times of moores law then you can fit a digital high-res color camera on a brick of silicon with the size of your fingernail for a dollar that question seams silly.

  • it's not a question whether we really want it. if there's enough momentum in the industry to launch a certain feature, it will eventually become mainstream, whether you want it to or not.

    when cell phones became popular in the Netherlands (were I come from), a lot of people were complaining about the annoying ringtones and the public conversations people would be having (you can find out interesting things about the personal life of complete strangers when listening to telephone conversations in public places ;-) ).

    you would hear a lot of talk about the uselessness of this new medium, but, after a while, people just ignore the annoyances. and now, everyone seems to have a cell-phone...

    i think the same will happen with this kind of thing, especially since it doesn't affect you too much when someone is having a video conversation.

    and eventually, we will have a 1984-world, just a little later then orwell thought it'd be

    shit happens

    meneer de koekepeer

    (ps. no comments about my sig dutchies, i *do* happen to think it's funny!)
  • Did you notice that they zipped their video files for dowloading?

    I guess they can still improve their codec!!!

  • Great for emergencies: dial 911 and point the phone camera at the robber/rapist/misc-sociopath. Might not help you right at the moment, but the cops would know who to look for.
  • As a local TV news producer, I love the thought of having lots of people with FMV capabilities on their cell phone. It takes what CNN has done with videophone technology, and puts it in everyone's hands.

    In a breaking news situation, ordinarily we have to send a camera crew and live truck to the scene, wait for them to raise their mast or dish, then set up a microwave or satellite signal to get on the air. That's 30 minutes on a good day, with good traffic, and good weather.

    Imagine if any 13 year old geek with a camcorder and a cell phone could be the first on the scene, and we just dial into their cell phone. It turns everyone into a potential live reporter.

    Of course, with judicious use of the seven second delay. :-)
  • by foxtrot (14140)
    One question to ponder: Would we really want cameras on our cell-phones?

    Well, you and I, not at the moment. We geeks look at our phone, we look at our PDA, and we see two separate devices.

    But our phones now have built-in contact management software. My brother's phone has "wireless web"-- not the real Internet, but a surprising amount of crap can be found. This leads me to believe that the general public wants their phone to be a PDA.

    Now, look at us, supposively the bleeding edge. We're installing the intimate distribution of Linux on our iPaq's. We carry around a gig of mp3 in our pocket, or maybe even a half a season of Babylon 5. We're basically turning our PDAs into baby versions of our personal computers. People want their cellphone to be a PDA, we want our PDAs to be real computers, so why not cellphones as computers? [0] Our computers have webcams, we buy digital firewire camcorders, so why not have the one we carry on our belt support webcams? Sure, I think the real bandwidth will go the other direction, as bored business travelers waiting for their delayed flight to leave sit there watching last night's episode of ER on their cellphone, but why not also be able to send video outbound?

    [0] I do see one problem with this: interface. Right now, we don't know how to make a usable general purpose interface for a computer small enough to put it on a cellphone, and the other feature trend in cellphones is "as small as you can still fit a day's worth of battery into."

    -JDF
  • For taping lap dances, doy!
  • I've sat in front of the TV watching all the reports on the northern alliances march to tora bora. A lot of the reporters out there have been using a similiar technology based on the real codec I believe.

    In a nutshell its been very cool.

    I read another post about using these phones for tech support. What about all the other cool uses?

    Your stuck on a highway somewhere out in the middle of nowhere. You call the tow truck company, wave your phone around to show them where you are and wham, based on landmarks they are able to figure out your position and send help.

    Someone has been breaking into your house. You set a phone to autoanswer, dial in and find out it's your younger brother coming in eating your food and smokin your cigs.

    You're on a blind date, you're not sure who it is you're supposed to meet, call your buddy who set you up, wave the phone around and BAM, he point's out your date in a heartbeat.

    You're at the scene of some sorta crime, you call 911, point the camera at the criminals and BLAMMO, they got instant mug shots.

    And last but not least, wouldn't it be way cool to have one of these on a watch? Ala Dick Tracey?

    These phones have allmost limitless potential for use. I don't think it's fair for people to knock them purely on the basis of, "It's too much in a phone" It doesn't really add that much to the cost of the phone, but it does add another feature that makes the phone a better deal. I.E. getting more for your money.
  • Why do you talk about getting a camera on a phone as something in the future? They already exist. I saw one in a shop window (along with a Bluetooth kit).

    Have a look at this press release from Ericsson: Ericsson unveils first GSM mobile camera - CommuniCamtm [ericsson.com]. Notice the date? Wednesday, March 21 2001.

  • I don't think so. MPEG-4 is a standard, which happens to be an upgrade of another little standard called MPEG-2....perhaps you have heard of it? :)

    For more info on MPEG-4 check out:
    http://www.ivast.com
  • My dad and I were discussing this the other day and we came to the conclusion that if you're on vacation you can instantly give people back home a little peak at where you are. Instead of just telling them "We're at the grand canyon and it looks like a big stupid hole in the ground" you can hold out the phone and they can look with their own eyes.

    Another option could be tech support instead of "describe what you see on the screen" You can have them point the phone's camera at the screen (Though a small telephone screen probobally won't give you the best view of a computer screen)

  • KT-Tech is apparently trying to get into the two-way wireless communication market. One question to ponder: Would we really want cameras on our cell-phones?


    Not on my cell phone, but being able to stream video over a narrowband channel has huge implications in the public safety community.


    Firefighters and others have been wanting this ability for some time, so they could send back video real-time of natural disasters (like tornadoes) or of hazardous materials incidents, and right now that capability just doesn't exist without reliance on a third party.

"Ahead warp factor 1" - Captain Kirk

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