While the ability to conduct video calls via iPhones is likely not the driving factor moving US physicians to adopt the devices, Apple's built-in video chat feature FaceTime, has helped set the iPhone 4 apart from the competition. Video chat is one feature that Android users had to turn to third party app developers to use -- until now.
Google announced that it will be launching its own native video chat service for devices running its Android OS -- including tablets -- through its Version 2.3.4 upgrade set to release over the next few weeks. The system will interoperate with anyone using Google Talk video chat on their computer, and unlike Apple's solution, Google's solution will work with PCs, according to various reports. Video chatters will be able to make calls over WiFi or on a 3G/4G connection if their carrier supports it.
Android users with the Nexus S will be the first to get the Android 2.3.4 upgrade with the video chat feature enabled. Other users will be receiving the upgrade over the air in a slower roll out.
Opening up native video chat on the Android platform will have some interesting ramifications for the mHealth would if the launch of FaceTime was any indication. Shortly after FaceTime launched the 3G Doctor service in the UK began offering by using doctor consultations over Apple's video calling app.
Polycom, one of the biggest players in video conferencing for healthcare, announced its intent to create a mobile video service app for Samsung's Android Galaxy Tab last November.