Are front-facing cameras here to stay or not?

Ip4_cam Sometimes certain technologies seem to be victims of their timing, even though they may be sound good in their execution and usefulness. When checking out the latest range of smartphones, one feature stands out, and it doesn't even have to be present. I'm talking about the front-facing camera, which finally looks ready to grab our attention. Or is it?

The most prominent device to sport an extra eye is, of course, the iPhone 4.

With millions of devices already being used, Apple's FaceTime technology allows easy iPhone-to-iPhone visual communication without the need for additional software or services. Skype allows the same thing but has the advantage of being a cross-platform technology, with Android being the most visible holdout.

With the top Android devices such as the blazing HTC EVO 4G and the Samsung Galaxy S also sporting front-cams, as well as the Dell Streak, it seemed like we were well on our way to ridding the world of faceless talk. But then a funny thing happened, because the latest and greatest from Verizon, the DROID X, did not get a front-cam. Same goes for a few Galaxy S variants, the T-Mobile Vibrant and the AT&T Captivate. Could it be the carriers' reluctance to strain their already overloaded networks, a cost-saving decision, or is the demand for the extra lens just not there yet? Sprint apparently doesn't subscribe to these theories, since its upcoming Epic 4G is its take on the Galaxy S, with the full set of bells and whistles.

Since my EVO 4G and iPhone 4 both have the front-cam, I pretty much expect it to be there on any future devices I may purchase, even if I really don't use it much at all. I'm just curious how most of you feel about the sudden technology backtrack. With Fring video support no longer in Skype's good graces, it definitely makes things trickier, but does anyone actually use video calling or depend on it?

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Chris King

Chris King is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

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