This day in tech history: Intel announces the PC video phone



In an age of Facetime, Skype and Google Hangouts, video calling is pretty much ubiquitous — an aspect of technology that we simply take for granted. But it wasn’t always this way.

Eighteen years ago today, AT&T and Intel held a May 30 meeting to announce a system that would allow personal computers to make and receive video phone calls over standard telephone lines.

“It sounds futuristic, but it’s here,” Intel noted in its annual report for 1996. “For the first time, a simple low-cost, PC-based video phone.”

Imo Messenger Update Brings Free Video Calling, Broadcast Sharing



Imo Messenger, the messaging service that now boasts over 10 million users worldwide, has today received a nice new update on Android and iOS. In addition to free video calling on both platforms, the new release adds the ability to share broadcasts to your favorite social networks on iOS, and makes the app a universal release with support for both iPhone and iPad.

AT&T: Because FaceTime Is Built Into Your iPhone, We Can Block It And There’s Nothing You Can Do About It


If you're an AT&T customer, you'll need a certain plan to enjoy this with a data connection.
If you're an AT&T customer, you'll need a certain plan to enjoy this with a data connection.

AT&T upset a lot of customers when it revealed that it would only allow those subscribed to its new Mobile Share data plans to access FaceTime over 3G/4G on their iOS devices. Today it has responded to that upset by explaining that because FaceTime is a feature built into the iPhone — and not one that is downloaded by the user — the company can disable it as it wishes and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Skype 5.8 For Mac Delivers Better Mobile Video Calls, Group Screen Sharing, Mountain Lion Support


Skye for Mac is much-improved in version 5.8.
Skype for Mac is much-improved in version 5.8.

Skype has just pushed out its latest update for Mac OS X, which includes a number of enhancements to existing features, as well as support for OS X Mountain Lion. The company promises that contacts lists, video calls to mobile devices, and screen sharing are all much-improved in version 5.8.

‘Fring’ Update Brings Group Video Calling to iOS



Fring – the popular video chat and VoIP application for iPhone and iPod touch – has just been updated to introduce group video calling with up to three other people. It’s the first application in the App Store to offer this feature, and it’s completely free.

To use Fring for video calling, you will obviously need a compatible device, such as the iPhone 4, the iPad 2, and the latest iPod touch. Fring is also available on compatible Android devices and supports cross-platform communication, so you can call and video chat between iOS and Android. The application works over 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi.

Fring uses a feature called ‘Dynamic Video Quality’ (DVC) that automatically and continuously adjusts your video call quality to match your connectivity; which its developers say provides you with the best audio and video quality possible.

If you’ve tried the new group video calling feature, let us know what it’s like in the comments.