Report: Smartphone video calling to remain niche by 2015

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) boosted the profile of mobile video calling when it debuted its native FaceTime video application for the iPhone 4, but according to a new report, the technology will remain very niche over the next several years. 

According to a report by Juniper Research, there only will be around 29 million smartphone customers who use video calling services or applications by 2015. The research firm predicted adoption of mobile video calling will remain below 10 percent in all markets by 2015.

"The use of video calling has had several false dawns, and has remained flat in recent years," Anthony Cox, a senior analyst a Juniper, said in a release. "We forecast that there will be 29 million smartphone video users in 2015, but the market may be held back by a lack of interoperability between different devices. In the longer term, the growth of WiFi and 3G in developing markets may make video calling an attractive option for international calls for those working and living away from their families." 

Other companies besides Apple have produced smartphones with video calling capabilities. Indeed, both of Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) 3G/4G phones--the HTC Evo and Samsung Epic--have video calling features as does T-Mobile's new MyTouch smartphone. Apple FaceTime users can only video chat with other FaceTime users right now. Although FaceTime only works over WiFi, Apple has approved third-party video-calling applications like Fring for the iPhone that will work over AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) 3G network in addition to WiFi networks.

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