Video calling has been around for a long time, several years ago in Europe it was advertised as one of the biggest features of 3G. Every new flagship phone had a front-facing camera and billed as video calling capable, but it never really took off. It got quickly forgotten and everyone has moved on. But Apple re-invented video calling with introduction of FaceTime. And there is one area where it’s especially useful – staying connected abroad.
For me FaceTime has become and invaluable tool for travelling. Staying in touch with people I care about has always quite a struggle. FaceTime made contacting someone on the other side of the globe as trivial and simple as making a phone call. The beauty of it is that it integrates seamlessly with iOS and does not require almost any setup or configuration. It just works, period. No need to open any apps, remember passwords and log in to anything. I get to see my family and can talk for hours without paying a penny. The biggest limitation of FaceTime is said that it can’t work over mobile 3G networks, but this is actually not that important when travelling. I’m not crazy enough to video chat while roaming anyway and no 3G means that service stays free.
Since getting an iPhone 4 it became so easy to talk to people I care about for as long as I like. FaceTime brings people together no matter where they are.