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Back in July when Windows Phone 7 was still in development, I wrote a post arguing that all the hardware on the new platform, needed to have a front facing camera as a standard feature. Here is an excerpt
Now Iâ€™m not saying that WP7 has to have a gyroscope or a retina display, but I think that a front facing camera is must. They may not have the software to use it ready at launch, but they can always add it with an update. With video calling set to explode in the near future, it gives a better value to the consumer so that they are not forced to go out and buy a new device just to use the feature considering the fact that most phone contracts usually run for two years. Windows phone 7 is still about three months out, therefore, I think there is still time for MS and its partners to have a front facing camera available on all phones.
At that time, a good portion of the comments were highly against the idea citing added costs and considered video calling to be just a fad. They mentioned the fact that phones with FF cameras had been available for a long time but no one hardly ever used them.
Fast forward five months later and guess what? The largest VOIP service Skype, has introduced video calling to the masses on all IOS devices. With that single act, Apple has once again managed to notch ahead of their rivals because ALL the iPhone 4 owners will enjoy this feature without having to purchase new hardware. One could argue that WP7 OEMS can easily add a secondary camera on their next revisions of hardware, but what about all the consumers who have already bought the first batch of phones? They are basically screwed for the next two years until their contracts ran out.
Once again, a little forward thinking would have alleviated this issue. Iâ€™m 100 percent certain that the absence of video calling will be used to highlight yet another disadvantage of Windows Phone 7. Microsoft knew earlier this year, and perhaps as early as last year, that the iPhone/iPod touch and Android devices would feature FF cameras so they had time to update their minimum specs. What makes it worse is that it cannot be fixed via a software update since it is a hardware issue. The end result is a fragmented user experience, something that Microsoft worked so hard to avoid and could have, but chose not to.