Skype adding video chat to another 17 android phones and that Skype will definitely bring video calling to Windows Phone. This is all great news, but not really shocking. Technology has become so advanced that video calling more or less becomes a commodity. This got me thinking and brought back some childhood memories.
When I was a kid this was very different, phones were something still sort of special and we could only dream of video calling. The phones where big, heavy, wired, had rotating dials to select a number and took center stage in the living room. Video calling was science fiction and at best we believed the future of making calls. The phone evolution was imagined to enrich voice with video like the transition from radio to television. The devices got bigger, complemented with a screen and would offer a richer experience by attracting more senses.
At that point in time I never imaged the phone evolution would take a complete different route to video calling. First the phones lost their wires and became sort of mobile. They were still bulky but over a ten year period the continued to reduce in size and loose weight. The miniature phone emerged until it became impossible to put a screen and keyboard on a device the size of your thumb. Now the phone had gotten so small that either the keyboard or the screen had to go, because style and size was no longer a differentiator. As we see so often with technology products it became a battle of who can add the most features. Thus we got the feature phone that later emerged into the smartphone. Since they had become little computer that are almost running our lives they also needed a decent screen so once again the phones started to grow. It was not until these newer and larger screen sizes that video calling made sense again and now we hardly blink our eyes on video calling and take it for granted.
Science fiction has become reality, but it took a little detour from the imagined evolutionary path.