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More Video Phones Are on the Way

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, August 3, 2004

More video phones are on the way. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. As cell phone carriers migrate to higher speed networks, you'll be able to buy handsets that will let you hold video conference calls from anywhere. A company called Vialta started selling consumer video phones that use regular phone lines two year ago. The latest model is the Beamer FX. Marketing VP Ken Tenaglia….

"What we decided to do is…in addition to having a video phone, what if you could use it as a digital picture frame when it's not in use as a video phone. So really what we did with Beamer FX is we combined the Beamer video phone function and capability with the Vista Frame digital picture capability. So it's really a two in one product."

The Beamer FX, which sells for about three hundred dollars, includes a four in one reader for memory cards…or you can send and receive pictures with other Beamer owners. The quality of the video conferencing is okay…but not great. Tenaglia says the company is looking to add higher quality picture videophones that will use high speed Internet connections by the end of the year. The problem is…

"The current video phone models all are compatible with each other. The broadband version only would work with other broadband."

The instant messaging services from Microsoft and AOL already include video conferencing capability….with the addition of an inexpensive USB camera to your PC. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.