If you’ve been using FaceTime, we bet you have been dreaming about a way to have similar functionality between a desktop and your FaceTime-enabled iOS device. It would make it much more convenient when you’re at your desktop to use your webcam and not have to hold your iPhone up. It would also allow your non-iOS friends to chat directly with your iPhone from their desktop.
It’s now getting much closer to a reality. Redmondpie pointed out a new jailbreak app called iMovicha that allows you to do just that. Their service will allow you to place video calls between two iOS devices, an Android and an iPhone, a Symbian and an Android, but most importantly, between either a Mac or a PC and an iPhone 4. Don’t get too excited though, there is a catch.
All it takes, is downloading iMovicha from Cydia and signing up. On the desktop side, you can download a client directly from movicha.com using your credentials. Then, you’ll be able to connect devices to each other using a traditional buddy list, where you add your friends using their nickname. All of this is free.
Now that you’re all excited, here is the reality. The app is catastrophic, and I yet have to make it really work. After much effort and two hours of work, Robin and I managed to place a two-way video call and have the audio go from my iDevice to her desktop. We were on Wi-Fi (the app will also work on 3G), but the quality was still extremely bad. Also, don’t get me started on the desktop client, as it’s as bad as it gets.
Yet, its makers deserve some credit for at least trying. Who knows, with a lot of work they might get it to work decently someday. Also, it strikes me once again, that nobody else is currently offering such a service. There was Fring over Skype for a short bit of time, but they got cut off from Skype’s network very quickly.
This must happen eventually. At first, I was surprised that iMovicha was a jailbreak app, and feared Apple rejected a desktop to iOS video chat system in the App Store. However, the app is clearly not good enough for the App Store right now. Therefore we don’t have any proof that Apple has anything against the idea in general. Also, we’re still waiting to see when big names like Skype, or maybe even Apple will do something like this. It would make a lot of sense for a future version of iChat to allow this. But, who knows, maybe there are still some technical challenges that we aren’t aware of?
Anyway, iMovicha is an interesting proof of concept. So if you have some time on your hands, go give it a try.