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.)

The Video Chat Revolution

Online video chat was booming by the mid 2000s, thanks to cheap color cameras, free software, ubiquitous PCs, and widespread broadband. By 2003, all the major instant messaging clients supported video calling. An array of webcams appeared from vendors like Logitech, Microsoft, and Apple. Skype began offering video in 2005.

Video calling had crept in under the noses of a formerly skittish-to-be-seen populace in a surprising way. A younger generation viewed video chat as a new communications paradigm separate from the traditional concept of the "video telephone." The difference became clear: If you want to talk, use a phone. If you want to video chat, use a webcam.

Photos: Skype/AOL/Logitech/Microsoft/Apple

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