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November 25, 2014

Smartphone video calls go mainstream

50 million US adults now use their devices for video calls.

By CBR Staff Writer

50 million US adult smartphone users, 35% of those surveyed, use their devices for video calling. This indicates that video calls have made it to the mainstream, with apps such as Apple’s FaceTime, Skype and Google Hangouts being used on devices.

According to the Gartner survey, the number who use their devices for video calls would surpass 60 million individuals if ages 17 and younger were included.

Gartner senior research analyst Atsuro Sato said: "Based on these survey findings, we believe one of the user cases that has seemed marginal for some time now warrants much greater attention — and that is video calling."

"Person-to-person video calling, especially using smartphones, has reached very high numbers in the U.S., particularly among the younger demographics."

"Although the U.S. results were ahead of Germany, we believe they show the direction that other markets will follow, with important implications for product managers and marketers of smartphones."

20% of the overall people surveyed used their devices for video calling, which would exceed 10 million upon adding ages 17 and younger.

Video calling in the age group of 18 to 24 has reached 53.5% and 20% in the US and Germany respectively, with its adoption slanted toward early adopters while illustrating expansion signs across all consumer segments.

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Gartner research director Werner Goertz said: "Video calling is a mass market and mainstream activity on smartphones in the U.S., with 34.6 percent adult smartphone user adoption. We believe other markets will follow that path, depending on local constraints."

"As a result, product managers for smartphone original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) should ensure that high-end and midrange devices have front-facing cameras with enough resolution and overall ability to capture good quality video.

"The requirements for capturing video calls will be higher than for still ‘selfies.’ Optimising camera technology not for depth of focus, but for high refresh rates on images in close proximity will be essential."

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