Microsoft FaceTime competitor was supposed to be launched with WP7

It was not long ago that Neowin broke the news about Microsoft's FaceTime competitor, but since we broke the news, a bit more information has come across our inbox and shines a bit more light into the details of the application.

As Neowin previously showed, WP7 has the built-in calls for a front facing camera. According to our source, the intent was to launch WP7 with the front facing camera requirement and the application to provide a more direct competition to Apple. But as the deadline drew near, Microsoft became aware that WP7 was falling behind schedule and instead of delaying the release the product, they had to start slashing features.

Did you ever wonder why the Copy & Past cut came near the end? It is because this simple idea, while not hard to implement, was near the end of the feature requirements for Microsoft. Because of this, C&P was pushed back a bit further, which is why it will land most likely in the next month or two. But how does this relate to the FaceTime competitor? From what Neowin understands, the application development was never stopped, only the implementation into WP7 was cut. So while WP7 doesn't have the featureset, it is almost certain that the application will be included in WP8.

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For all the times MSFT delayed Windows Mobile 7 (WP7) there is really no excuse for them to be so far behind in the first place. Microsoft owned the smartphone market before RIM came. With all that time and money there is no excuse for MSFT to be so far behind.

There have been phones with dual cameras for quite a while. Nokia has had them for years. Why does it take a company like Apple to popularize it here in the USA? MSFT should have did it first. They should ahve had full touchscreens on phones first.

What were they waiting for?

I wanted a WP7 device very badly as I loved my older Windows Mobile devices. But I won't buy a device that is lacking compared to what I already own. The new UI is very nice and slick. I love the integration of social apps at the OS level. But the features of the hardware are simply inexcusible. Even when Apple did it, it was inexcusible. So MSFT gets no sympathy from me.

The problem with the Windows Mobile group is simple, poor guidance and execution. Why didn't Gates give them a foundation to build before he left? Maybe he was smart to leave while on top of his game. Ballmer is doing a pretty good job as he has totally messed up, but it has to be better.

Microsoft is probably going to build on their video chat in Lync Server, but I really hope that we over time get an open standard that can connect the different video chat services together. So that I can video chat from my WP7 to my brothers Android phone. Yes we already have 3G, but a WiFi standard is needed as well. The way I see it there are 4 companies that should work together on this.

Microsoft (Live/Lync)
Apple (FaceTime)
Google (GTalk)
Skype

If those 4 came together to work out a way to connect to each other I think the rest of the industry would follow.

zicoz said,
Microsoft is probably going to build on their video chat in Lync Server, but I really hope that we over time get an open standard that can connect the different video chat services together. So that I can video chat from my WP7 to my brothers Android phone. Yes we already have 3G, but a WiFi standard is needed as well. The way I see it there are 4 companies that should work together on this.

Microsoft (Live/Lync)
Apple (FaceTime)
Google (GTalk)
Skype

If those 4 came together to work out a way to connect to each other I think the rest of the industry would follow.

the issue as far as I see is there is no 'need' for it, Apple sex'd it up via their reality field. it didnt take off when 3g came our way, and the same reasons exist now, its awkward and not a needed feature. Apple do well at making people believe they need something and its down to thme that its available, and that might boost support and make things take off but I doubt it.

I think this is all Lync orientated, and am seriously looking forward to it from that standpoint.

From the consumer level, no......I think it's in the same fail league as 3d for the home

Richio said,
C&P delayed it That's.. sad. Don't they have more than one programmer working on it?
That's not what the article states.

Why is MS even bothering to "compete" with something that's a complete, unmitigated, total FLOP !!!
If they do it right though and not have the Apple nazi-like restrictions.. it may take off..
But still.. we (humans) have had the ability to do video calling for over a decade... and we'ev proven that we DON'T LIKE IT

WP7 chasis specifications were finalised in Nomvember 2009 and announced to OEMs in february 2010. FaceTime wasn't even on the market at either point. I can't see how Microsoft "slashed" features "close to release" when they required specific hardware. Yes they cut out copy and paste because it wasn't ready but there was never any plans for forward facing cameras in the hardware specs.

Tom W said,
WP7 chasis specifications were finalised in Nomvember 2009 and announced to OEMs in february 2010. FaceTime wasn't even on the market at either point. I can't see how Microsoft "slashed" features "close to release" when they required specific hardware. Yes they cut out copy and paste because it wasn't ready but there was never any plans for forward facing cameras in the hardware specs.

There were never any plans to include copy and paste, Smart Links take care of that. It's being added after people complained that the iPhone had it so why not WP7.

TBH, copy and paste isn't really needed anyway, I used it on my HTC Desire once and that was so long ago I can't remember what I used it for anyway.

Tom W said,
WP7 chasis specifications were finalised in Nomvember 2009 and announced to OEMs in february 2010. FaceTime wasn't even on the market at either point. I can't see how Microsoft "slashed" features "close to release" when they required specific hardware. Yes they cut out copy and paste because it wasn't ready but there was never any plans for forward facing cameras in the hardware specs.

Minimum specs, just minimum specs...
OEM could have added front camera as some devices have a sliding keyboard and other have not.
Granted with no software support nobody added; and besides what is better than learn from Apple and add it several months after hoping people would buy a new device?
Not that I think this will happen: video calls have been available foerever but never being popular.

neo158 said,

There were never any plans to include copy and paste, Smart Links take care of that. It's being added after people complained that the iPhone had it so why not WP7.

TBH, copy and paste isn't really needed anyway, I used it on my HTC Desire once and that was so long ago I can't remember what I used it for anyway.

Yep...

Side Note, having a feature and use of a feature are two different things.

If you your UI paradigm has little use for copy and paste, it makes sense to evolve people past having to copy and paste text, especially if developers need to be moved forward to think in new ways to offer their applications content via the Link technologies.

It also works in reverse, Android has Copy and Paste, but try to copy a few lines from an email or anything from an email and you can't. So ya, Android has Copy and Paste, but one of the few places that it is essential, as you can't edit the forwarded portion of an email, the copy and paste feature is not available; therefore, copy and paste on Android becomes worthless at this point and might as well not exist.

Another Android argument would be its multi-tasking, sure 3rd party applications can fully multi-task; however, as the device needs RAM instead of swapping out a background application to virtual RAM, the OS just closes it without the user knowing or having control over it.

This makes multi-tasking worthless when the OS kills applications where you lose work or information and it even terminates background downloads and audio playback just because your device needed more RAM to run a new process (sometimes one started by the OS without user's knowledge even.)

And I won't even go into the details of Android not having a clue about errant background applications consuming CPU cycles and finding yourself with a dead battery. These are time most people would rather have the WP7 event/push or iOS multi-tasking models.

Edited by thenetavenger, Jan 18 2011, 2:42pm :

Why does it need to be a FaceTime competitor? It just says VoIP, so it's probably just their Windows Live video communication protocol, or at least API hooks for other developers to use. Don't see how having a VoIP registry sub tree automagically means they're making some new "Facetime" competitor. It's just a good old fashioned VoIP entry, existed far before Facetime!

I do hope they have support for actual "proper" video calling over normal phone calls too sometime.

Goes to show how far MS was ready to go in order to meet their WP7 launch date. FaceTime was one of the major features showcased at the iPhone 4 launch, so this isn't small potatoes to cut. I think MS made the right decision though. MS was in such a bad situation, that regardless which exact date WP7 would be launched on, it would be a bit too late to be perfectly comfortable.

Northgrove said,
Goes to show how far MS was ready to go in order to meet their WP7 launch date. FaceTime was one of the major features showcased at the iPhone 4 launch, so this isn't small potatoes to cut. I think MS made the right decision though. MS was in such a bad situation, that regardless which exact date WP7 would be launched on, it would be a bit too late to be perfectly comfortable.

Yup took 4 iphones to get facetime, what took them so long??

jason13524 said,

Yup took 4 iphones to get facetime, what took them so long??


Well I think the hardware might have something to do with it. The iPhone 4's hardware is much, much more robust than that found in the 3GS. It also required a repositioning of internal hardware, and since 3G and 3GS shared the same basic design, a front camera couldn't be added without a complete redesign, hence the 4.

jason13524 said,

Yup took 4 iphones to get facetime, what took them so long??

If I use a Windows phone I do not care about what others do; I want features on my device. If your house get on fire would the fact that your neighbor one is on fire too make you feel better? It would not to me.

CentralDogma said,
More like FailTime competitor. Am I right guys?

indeed. same reason 3G video calling never took off.

As for windows phone 7 make excuses but it was rushed out the door without it's pants on lets face it.

Digitalx said,

indeed. same reason 3G video calling never took off.

As for windows phone 7 make excuses but it was rushed out the door without it's pants on lets face it.

whilst the Iphone was dragging outside kicking and screaming and no where near ready.

Digitalx said,

indeed. same reason 3G video calling never took off.

As for windows phone 7 make excuses but it was rushed out the door without it's pants on lets face it.

Well it launched with more features than iOS did, and more polish than Android ever did, in it's short developement time frame. It's a commendable achievement, and they consciously choose not to try and leave things half assed. Either they had enough time to complete the feature they way they planned or they didn't put it in.

~Johnny said,
Well it launched with more features than iOS did, and more polish than Android ever did, in it's short developement time frame. It's a commendable achievement, and they consciously choose not to try and leave things half assed. Either they had enough time to complete the feature they way they planned or they didn't put it in.
It's not really commendable that Microsoft couldn't finish a planned product on time. It just shows that they still have serious management problems.

~Johnny said,

Well it launched with more features than iOS did, and more polish than Android ever did, in it's short developement time frame. It's a commendable achievement, and they consciously choose not to try and leave things half assed. Either they had enough time to complete the feature they way they planned or they didn't put it in.

WP7 launched in 2010 period. What was available 4 years earlier is irrilevant.
The best irony is that whe the first iPhone came out everybody was complaining about the missing features; now, years after MS does the same and all the accolites are happy.
PS I have a HD7...... for now.......

~Johnny said,

Well it launched with more features than iOS did, and more polish than Android ever did, in it's short developement time frame. It's a commendable achievement, and they consciously choose not to try and leave things half assed. Either they had enough time to complete the feature they way they planned or they didn't put it in.


I agree. Microsoft made some tough choices, but I think they handled WP7's release better and delivered more. I'd prefer a feature be added in an update than be half baked...

Digitalx said,
indeed. same reason 3G video calling never took off.

As for windows phone 7 make excuses but it was rushed out the door without it's pants on lets face it.

Are you saying video calling is useless, or a necessary feature?

Kirkburn said,
Are you saying video calling is useless, or a necessary feature?

I'm saying since spawn of front facing cameras back 2004 or so video calling never took off and same features have been in phones since and still hasn't. Why would now be any different...

Why a competitor? If I remember correctly, Apple was going to open Facetime to other manufacturers. If they really did, it would be awesome that all phone adopted it........

Cask1 said,
Why a competitor? If I remember correctly, Apple was going to open Facetime to other manufacturers. If they really did, it would be awesome that all phone adopted it........

If Apple opened it up, it would be at what cost? If someone else can build a competitor, it creates competition and therefore we get a better product. It would still be cool for Facetime to be opened up across all platforms though.

Cask1 said,
Why a competitor? If I remember correctly, Apple was going to open Facetime to other manufacturers. If they really did, it would be awesome that all phone adopted it........

FaceTime is already open. It's a video call protocol based on standards such as H.264, SIP, and RTSP. I don't think Apple would try to keep Microsoft out of FaceTime if MS approached Apple about supporting it, but I think the problem here is that MS isn't willing to do that.

Northgrove said,

FaceTime is already open. It's a video call protocol based on standards such as H.264, SIP, and RTSP. I don't think Apple would try to keep Microsoft out of FaceTime if MS approached Apple about supporting it, but I think the problem here is that MS isn't willing to do that.

No other phone maker is supporting apple's standard, why should MS? Video calls in Europe are not just restricted to proprietary software, they work just like voice calls, at least when they were first introduced. No need for anyone to sign up to use one company's software and be held hostage.

Northgrove said,

FaceTime is already open. It's a video call protocol based on standards such as H.264, SIP, and RTSP. I don't think Apple would try to keep Microsoft out of FaceTime if MS approached Apple about supporting it, but I think the problem here is that MS isn't willing to do that.
As far as I know, Apple has not documented FaceTime. I doubt Microsoft will be interested anyway, but I don't think Apple deserves preemptive credit for something they may do in the future.

Northgrove said,

FaceTime is already open. It's a video call protocol based on standards such as H.264, SIP, and RTSP. I don't think Apple would try to keep Microsoft out of FaceTime if MS approached Apple about supporting it, but I think the problem here is that MS isn't willing to do that.

Sigh...this has been said everytime facetime is mentioned but still people don't get it. facetime ISNT open, at least not yet.

Brandon said,
Why couldn't it be added in an update? I'd assume WP8 wouldnt be released for a few years

Try video calling with no cameras facing you.

Hardware limitations here.

Mouettus said,

Try video calling with no cameras facing you.

Hardware limitations here.


What about the new batch of devices which are expected to be announced at Mobile World Congress? I seriously don't think a feature as basic as video-chat will come as late as Windows Phone 8. I think new WP7 devices will have 'Facetime', presumably with the major Mango update!

FMH said,

What about the new batch of devices which are expected to be announced at Mobile World Congress? I seriously don't think a feature as basic as video-chat will come as late as Windows Phone 8. I think new WP7 devices will have 'Facetime', presumably with the major Mango update!

That could get confusing though. Consumers wouldn't be able to ask "Is this a WP7 phone?" to know whether it supported video calls, but would have to ask "Is this a WP7 phone with a front-facing camera and updates to support it?" While Microsoft may not mind that confusion, I know for sure that Apple would. That's the #1 reason to why they release major iOS updates to coincide with hardware releases - to take out the confusion for their end-users. In their world, everyone should know what they would get from a phone as soon as they knew that it ran WP7 or WP8.

FMH said,
...I seriously don't think a feature as basic as video-chat will come as late as Windows Phone 8...

Yeah, because it's THAT basic. And everyone you know has and does it.

thartist said,

Yeah, because it's THAT basic. And everyone you know has and does it.

Video call has been available for ages; just because WP7 does not have it an Apple just implemented does not mean that is something new....

Northgrove said,

"Is this a WP7 phone with a front-facing camera and updates to support it?"

Excellent point. +1

Northgrove said,

That could get confusing though. Consumers wouldn't be able to ask "Is this a WP7 phone?" to know whether it supported video calls, but would have to ask "Is this a WP7 phone with a front-facing camera and updates to support it?"
Is that such a terrible question?

Northgrove said,

That could get confusing though. Consumers wouldn't be able to ask "Is this a WP7 phone?" to know whether it supported video calls, but would have to ask "Is this a WP7 phone with a front-facing camera and updates to support it?" While Microsoft may not mind that confusion, I know for sure that Apple would. That's the #1 reason to why they release major iOS updates to coincide with hardware releases - to take out the confusion for their end-users. In their world, everyone should know what they would get from a phone as soon as they knew that it ran WP7 or WP8.

I agree. If Microsoft had planned too get this into an update they woukd have kept the hardware requirement...

Northgrove said,
and updates to support it

-1.

all phones will get the updates when they're available.

iPhone, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad
Pretty sure some of those devices are missing front facing camera, yet there doesn't seem to be consumer confusion.

Hardware Manufacturers will add their front facing cameras for christmas 2011.