iPhone FaceTime won't be popular: 3UK CEO

Having been upbeat when the technology was first launched, the CEO of 3UK, Kevin Russell, has now backtracked over the likely popularity of Apple's FaceTime video calling application.

Russell now believes that FaceTime is unlikely to gain consumer support within the next three years and would be surprised if Apple is able to enthuse consumers to accept and use video calling.

While accepting that video calling had become acceptable to some Italian users, Russell said that FaceTime's need for a Wi-Fi connection and that it was limited to the iPhone4 would hamper widespread adoption.

However, in an uncharacteristic move, Apple has indicated it plans to make FaceTime an open standard. This could possibly see Skype turning PCs into FaceTime clients and thereby eliminating the need for both callers to be using the costly iPhone 4.

The history of video calling remains littered with failed attempts--be it via fixed or mobile connections. While one of 3G's main selling points was the ability to make video calls the experience was, at best, considered appalling, and little attempt has been made to breathe fresh life into this feature.

Whilst 3UK has a track record of innovation and risk-taking, its CEO has done less well when forecasting the future. Earlier this year, Russell doubted that Apple's iPad device would have any noticeable impact on the market, and then did an about-turn stating that "tablets were going to be significant. More so than I thought three or four months ago."

For more on this story:
- read Gadget News & Wired

Related stories:
Apple unveils iPhone 4, adds video calling feature
Skype to support Apple's FaceTime video calls
New wave of superphones poised to challenge iPhone 4
Mobile video calling: Possible, but not necessarily worth it

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