History of Video Calls: From Fantasy to Flops to Facetime

A visual history of the science and sci-fi of phone calls you can see. (And, no, it didn't start with The Jetsons.)

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Mobile Video Phones

The 1996 Panasonic prototype on the left was "the world's first cordless videophone" according to Popular Mechanics (awkward crop courtesy of that publication). It sent video at 3-7 frames per second over Japan's PHS and weighed over a pound.

To the right of that is the Kyocera VP-210 (1999), one of the first (if not the first) commercial cellular phones to offer video calling. Then we enter the 3G network era with the Sony Ericsson Z1010 (2003) and the NEC e606 (far right, 2003); both offered color video calling. Despite the availability of video calling on some phones throughout the 2000s, users still didn't consider it an essential feature.

Photos: Panasonic/Kyocera/NEC/ Sony Ericsson

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History of Video Calls: From Fantasy to Flops to Facetime

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