webOS Video Conferencing in the works - Built for teams | webOS Nation
 
 

webOS Video Conferencing in the works - Built for teams 47

by Tim Stiffler-Dean Fri, 27 May 2011 11:15 am EDT

In a document tipped to us from HP Laboratories, we can finally get an idea of how HP plans on bringing multiple-user video conferencing to webOS devices (especially smartphones and tablets). While we aren't sure this will be coming to the Pre 3 or TouchPad when they are launched, epecially when the ideas listed in the document are still in a heavy testing phase, this concept of video conferencing for webOS devices seems well enough advanced that it could be a valuable tool that many teams will take advantage of within a year or less.

This document outlines more than just your simple video conferencing tools that are currently available in smartphones, and if you jump after the break you'll be able to see some of the features that HP Labs is working on that will enhance the video conferencing experience substantially over the competition. Will these concepts allow HP's webOS video conference to trounce FaceTime and others? Can't be too sure about that yet, but it certainly helps the cause.

Two Problems Solved: The "Nostril Cam" and Multi-Party Woes

What HP Labs is working on, that other device manufacturers have not introduced us to yet, is not simply improving the video capture quality of these devices through advancements in the camera. That would solve almost nothing. Instead they are trying to use many of the technologies that are already available in the devices, like the accelerometer and touch screen, to create a user-experience that is beyond what many have previously considered possible. By doing this, they have essentially solved two problems with video conferencing that have kept it from catching on so quickly amongst corporate teams - the infamous "Nostril Cam", and the tiny views the plague multi-party conferencing enough to make it nearly unusable.

How are they planning on solving these problems with webOS? Let's take one at a time:

The "Nostril Cam", which really is just the user's inability to hold the device at a good angle to make them look more attractive/professional, is as annoying for the viewer as it is embarrassing for the person braodcasting the video. FaceTime has a solution for this: they require users to look at themselves in a mirror image that sits in a corner. But, as HP truthfully says, not everyone wants to look at themselves when talking to someone else.

By capitalizing on the gyroscope, accelerometer and other such technologies that are already found in webOS devices, HP brings a creative way to solve this problem and cut your face out of the corner of the screen. Instead of the solution from Apple, they'll make it somewhat uncomfortable for a user to hold the phone any other way. If the device recognizes that the view angle is looking up at the person, it will change the incoming video's saturation and contrast subtely (based on the angle) to naturally convince the user to naturally change the angle and pick up a better view of themselves. They'll also create a way for the camera to determine how a user is positioning themselves in the camera, and again make the necessary changes.

The second problem, which is found often in devices that try to squeeze all video conferencing participant onto one view, has been solved in a similar way. If there are four participants, for example, each of their video streams will be arranged in an order as if they were all sitting at a round table. As the viewer tilts their device or pans it slightly, each party that has joined the conference will pop into view individually. Of course, you'll also be able to use the touch screen to swipe between each stream.

These two solutions will allow you to see everyone's bright and beautiful face, sitting at the best possible angle, in a full-screen view on multiple webOS devices that have video conferencing added in (we'll take a guess that it'll only be available for those devices with front-facing cameras). These also get rid of whatever limit that currently comes with multi-party video conferencing software (allowing more people to get hooked in), and in fact puts multi-party video conferencing on all webOS devices (as opposed to FaceTime's current 1-on-1 approach). 

There are plenty of other details to read in the HP Labs document which we've included in the link below, as well as some proof that their solutions actually do work for consumers and background details into other steps that will be necessary before this tech is released to the public. With all of the work that HP is putting into the future of their webOS technology, we'll add multi-party video conferencing to the list of highly-anticipated features. 

Source: HP Labs (PDF) Thanks Isaac!

47 Comments

wow, thats really good!

Well, it looks like somebody didn’t get an invite to the HP Discover event being held in Las Vegas on June 6-10, strongly rumored by many to be the day we’ll get some solid info on release dates and carriers for HP’s new webOS goodness. That somebody is a rather popular carrier to many a webOS faithful named Sprint, who doesn’t appear in the Exhibitor list for the event, even though Verizon and AT&T do, along with hundreds of other heavy hitters in the technology industry.

So what does this mean exactly? Is Sprint out of the picture from here on forward? Are Verizon and AT&T the carrier of choice for HP’s new hardware? (from WebOs roundup)

JUST BRING IT

The video feed should switch to whoever is talking! I've seen some other video conferencing systems doing that, looks really useful!

What they really need is a program that can communicate w Skype and facetime to start with, and these things can be added later. Hopefully this is not a high priority. I rather be able to video cam with my buddies on android and iOS rather than only webOS.

Or have the ability to use Gmail chat video!

I'm sure some will correct me, but I thought Apple's Facetime uses a proprietary codec. I don't know what Android uses. I just wish they ALL would use a free, open standard codec for video conferencing and let the hardware and UI be what makes decisions on purchases.

I'm really tired of business models that focus on lock-in to mitigate competitors by making it expensive to switch if you don't like your device or service.

Facetime was supposed to work on other devices according to Mr. Jobs. However, I'm not sure it does yet.

I think in the corporate world uniformity should apply, if not for any , but for the security reasons. So at work, you should be using your company provided mobile tools for free. Outside, you can use any. Prosumer is the catch-word ! This is the winning strategy for HPalm.

But Prosumer this forum aint. The users have feasted on Apple marketing and know no better.

This is the kind of innovation that HP needs to keep bringing to WebOS devices and software. Instead of adding a "me too" technology, they have raised the bar. Bravo HP, Keep it coming!!

You guys see that device in the three pictures in figure 2? Looks like a keyboardless smartphone to me.
Finally they will soon start to give webOS the options we deserve. The best portrait slider in the market (Pre 3), and a contender for a slate smartphone.

I think we may surprised at where webOS will be in a year or two. I'm forced to get the iPhone 5 because of east asian language support, but when webOS finally matures and includes IMEs, then I'm sure I'll want to go back to Palm.

I like where HP is taking Palm. They seem to have a more utilitarian view of webOS, and are ready to tackle prosumers and business users. This is bringing Palm back to its roots as far as I'm concerned.

Looks like a closed Pre to me.

I like your passion and agree with everything you said other than the figure 2 phone.

That is a closed Pre+. Look at the silver ear piece cover.

figure 3 looks like a slab maybe

Fig 2 looks like a Pre3, but Fig 3 (up at the top) looks like a slab...

We have to come up with a new name for that, slab sounds like it belongs in a morgue.

Erm....wouldn't that be the fabled "Mantaray" phone? ;)

It says that it's a Palm Pre Plus in the HP Labs document.

Fig 3 is NOT a Pre Plus. Hmmm...

Sweet!!

Also like how they keep using the Palm name. Palm forever!

They are using the Palm name in reference to the devices that were already produced prior to their purchase.

I wish they would have kept the Palm name, but they have given every indication that is not to be. i.e. it is the HP Veer that is out now, not the Palm Veer, but the Palm Pre Plus was and always will be a Palm device.

This is awesome looking. I can't wait to have this running on the touchpad.

How bout just getting Skype first...

We need a list of the top 100 apps on iOS and top 100 Andriod apps cross-referenced with what is/isnot available on WebOS YET - we don't need 500,000 apps, we just need the 100 best ones at launch. So far I know we are missing Skype, PlantsVsZombies, BarCodeScanner, Kindle, QRCodes (integrated), IMDB, WordsWithFriends, Shazam, NetFlix, CutTheRope, DoodleJump

I don't understand how you can list Amazon Kindle integration as missing when Sachin Kansal demoed it twice in the last 4 months on the TouchPad. Are you paying attention?

Got a link?

Maybe I just missed it with all the other stuff that has been demoed/already available. ie QuickOffice, Citrix, etc... Plus we don't have it NOW ;) Most of the other ones that are not in my list above we already have. ie, Amazon MP3, GoogleMaps, Pandora, Flixster, CraigsList, Evernote, Farts of all kinds, levels/compasses, flashlights, Twitter, Soundboards, timers/watches, engadget, sports scores, groupon, WhitePages, WheresMyPhone, YouTube, GasPrices, Tethering, AngryBirds, Poker/Casino, Solitares, DOOM!, bubblepops/tetris/bejeweled, suduko, facebook, etc.

Kinda why it would be cool to have someone "official" make a list.

It would indeed be great if it worked with the "standard" codec- like lifesize stuff can call and work with CISCO or Pollycom hardware- hopefully HP being in bed with business so much they use the open standard- propritary sh.. "Stuff" like iOS is consumer nickel and dimeing- HP would have a big advantage if their phones could call in or receive pollycom etc calls

Also that UI makes sence- and I would have "Switch to talking" as an option- I HATE that when haveing multi-way calls it picks up some ambiant noise and switches everyone into littler and littler boxes and goes back and forth etc etc its annoying- i would rather choose my view and keep it

Did you know Tim never sits down? Does everything standing up.

Heh. No comment.

Just put something in my hands already. I know neither device is coming until June, but it's almost June. I just want something. I'm tired of looking at all of the other device ads on this site. Can't wait.

Now we are talking, finally!!!

You see, HP, that is EXACTLY kind of leaks/communication you need!!! Keep you AVPs and other clowns at the corporate meetings & golf clubs, and away from big bad world, full of people who actually DO think, and let people who understand both the direction and the state of current market, to show some real awesomeness/differentiators!

Excellent news! It's this type of innovation that impressed the world when WebOS was first announced (CES). Very slick stuff. Hope to see it on a device sometime in the .... (yeah, I couldn't resist) 'coming months'!

That is most certainly a slab at the top in figure 3.
I have been a physical keyboard guy forever. My Pre- died so I am using a Nexus S for now. It really isn't that bad once you get the hang of it. Been 2 days for me and I am flying on this thing. "Multitasking" on Android is of no comparison to WebOS but oh well. I hope to be back soon!

I couldn't agree more on the keyboard comment. I've always preferred a physical but once I actually got used to the virtual, I can now type faster than I ever typed on a physical. There's certainly no question about it. Palm needs to release a virtual keyboard for their phones and it needs to be just as responsive as an iphone's. No lagginess like the way the phone dialer is, otherwise it'll be useless.

this is the way it will appear on the phone only right, not the touch pad, because with such a big screen id imagine they would try and show everyone, not force you to rotate it.

Could be cool.

I would be surprised if everyone on the conference looks that clear though. I know on most Simple video conference software the more people you add the more fuzzy everyone becomes. EX. ichat.

Interesting. I wonder if they could also do some image stabilization and perspective manipulation to change the camera's effective positioning. Now that could make this something unique.

I work for a company that has purchase agreement with HP on non-webOS items: printers, software, laptops, etc.

I could DEFINITELY see the company purchasing TouchPads with video conference capability. The company has locations all over the US and in several countries - over 30k employees. Currently, video conferencing is limited to conference rooms setup for it. Employees that telecommute (work from home) have to drive into an office to participate in a video conference; being able to work from a remote location and participate would be ideal!!!! Of course, I can also see at a personal (non-business) level how it would be great for family/friends to see & hear each other as well.

Palm originally became big by going the enterprise/business route. Business Users had devices in hand and loved them so much, they wanted them for personal use (Palm Pilot/Treo) which led to popularity at the personal consumer level.

Good luck HPalm! As a Palm Pilot/Treo/Centro alum and current AT&T Pre Plus owner, I'm pulling for ya!

I hate to play devils advocate and be sarcastic but I'm frustrated with HP so I want to ...

By the time they release hardware, google and apple could write software to do this same thing.

Oh yeah wait... the Veer is out! yeah lets video conference on the veer.

FAIL.

RELEASE THE FRICKEN PRE3 OR SLATE PHONE ALREADY

phone picture top of figure 3 would be a awesome iphone killer device.. :) I tdont think its a pre3.

So...what if a person wanted to show another person their nose...does it get all blurry and show the "not a good viewing angle" symptoms? If that piece of software can be turned off, then I think it Would be nice. Just watchin your back HP!

Another idea (as an alternative to bringing the speaker to the middle) would be to have some visual indication of who is speaking. Maybe increase the brightness of a thumbnail video proportional to the audio level. And increase or decrease the volume of the speaker depending on how far they are from whoever is in the middle focus (sort of like 3D audio).

isn't there one article that doesn't refer to: in the coming months or even worse : within a year or less. Fail

Just be careful. "In the works" may means you will have it in the future, with next generation of the product!

if you buy a touchpad or pre3 and hoping this function will get delivered through an update.... lol, good luck with that.

I love coming here. I feel like an Apple Mac owner (and was) in the mid-90s. All these wild promises on a proprietary level that will likely never come or if they do not interact with the rest of the world (which is the larger ecosystem we all belong to), or if it does hit will be short-lived, inferior to what is out with the competition when released, etc. As major supporters leave the platform or under support it, excitement could be found in the victory of a game being released. Got Angry Birds?

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