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Sony’s 80s Video Picture Phone Could Have Survived If Virtual Calls Were A Thing
By Mikelle Leow, 07 Jun 2021
Image via Mike Mozart / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Smartphones with advanced photography and videography capabilities are a dime a dozen these days, but such handheld devices were, of course, a rarity in the 80s. A new video by Matthew “Mat” Taylor of YouTube channel TechMoan travels far into the vault to recover one of these forgotten gems: the Sony PCT-15.
Taylor got his hands on one of these US$499 Face-to-Face video picture phones from 1988. It works as a selfie phone, allowing you to take a black and white picture and send it to a loved one.
In spite of the “video picture” description, you won’t be able to record a video from the device. The video feature serves as a mirror to help you prepare for a shot, and freezes after you take a still image. It’s worth noting that the phone was launched before digital image compression technologies were introduced, so sending moving color videos wasn’t possible yet.
With that being said, the phone doesn’t capture movements in real-time like today’s virtual conferencing tools. Taylor explains that you’d have to pause mid-conversation to send an image to the recipient, and then continue chatting afterward.
“It’s a little like sending a fax mid-telephone conversation,” the YouTuber mentions.
[via Digg, cover image via Mike Mozart / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)]
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