Tak dreams of ubiquitous communication

On many occasions I've been asked about which app I use for a certain task. I happily share the app I actually use on my Android smartphone. If my favorite app is not available on the iPhone, I consult my wife's iPhone as I manage what is on her smartphone too. My answers, though, do raise an eyebrow when I rattle off more than one app for the task in question. Let me explain ...

Apps for making video calls are a good example. I have no less than five video calling apps installed. Currently, they are Duo and Meet (from Google), Skype and Teams (from Microsoft), and Zoom.

The mobile device market share in the U.S. is almost evenly divided, i.e. 50/50, by the duopoly of Google's Android smartphone/tablet and Apple's iPhone/iPad. That ratio is more like 70/30, Google/Apple respectively,  when looking at the worldwide market share. BTW, I suspect this to be true because there are very affordable Android-based smartphones where even third-world-country residents are jacked into the internet, aka cloud or digital world, through their smartphones.

For one-on-one video calls, I prefer the simplicity of Duo and, most importantly, because it is available for both Android-based smartphones/tablets and iPhones/iPads (Apple), it is available to all recent smartphones and tablets.

You can also use Duo on a personal computer by using your favorite browser like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari and going to duo.google.com. I've participated in group video calls, i.e. multiple participants, on my smartphone using Duo or Zoom apps but I prefer the bigger screen on my computer so it is a nice Duo usage option. Another lesser-known feature is Duo being available on an Android TV streaming devices with a USB webcam attached to it and the Android TV connected to any TV – dumb or smart.

To do a video call using any of these services, all participants need to use the same app. This is the main reason I have multiple apps installed on my Android smartphone as I never know what someone's preferred app is for video calls.

If you are an iPhone or iPad user, you may be wondering about the video calling app FaceTime from Apple. Even though video calling had been available on computers for little over a decade prior to its introduction, I consider FaceTime first revolutionary app introduced only three years after the whole smartphone market was created in late 2007. Revolutionary because you could make/receive video calls from the palm of your hand sans wires!

I know this is more about business, i.e. competition, than technical, but from a geek's perspective I wish FaceTime was device agnostic like Duo. Actually, let me rephrase: I wish any video calling app can communicate with any video calling app, just like you can make/receive a telephone call regardless of what kind of phone each uses. I dream of ubiquitous video calling!

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with over 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives while using digital literacy as a tool for seniors to avoid loneliness and social isolation

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Volume 13, Issue 4, Posted 11:05 AM, 02.16.2021