Unsurprisingly, it isn't only Apple looking to hop on the communications bandwagon…
America's wonderful technological fly trap, the FCC, just revealed a major Creative product diversification: WiFi videoconferencing.
Snagged by the eagled eyed bloggers at Engadget, the ‘InPerson' (surely a-work-InProgress) is a clamshell format device with a 7in 16.7m colour LCD, VGA camera, dual microphones, TV-out, WiFi and Ethernet connections and support for H.264 video with SIP. A removable Lithium-ion battery and remote control also give the user a fair amount of flexibility while a headphone jack enables discrete calls.
As for the chitter chatter itself, InPerson employs the SightSpeed PC and Mac compatible videoconferencing, VoIP and instant messaging client. Automatic SightSpeed account log-in, speed dials, contact lists and call history therefore all make predictable appearances for this somewhat quirky device while battery life is quoted as up to five hours. Still, I can't help but think the designers missed a trick in not fitting a Qwerty keyboard with all that black real estate.
Quite where the InPerson sits in the market is rather unclear. Most high end handsets offer video calling already and with far less bulk while a UMPC provides a fully functional PC at the same size form factor. Consequently, price is going to be the all important factor in determining whether this semi-phone, semi-UMPC finds any kind of market at all. Personally speaking I have my doubts about that - regardless of the RRP.
Keep your eyes peeled for this potential belly flop during the first half of '08.