Cingular Demos Video Calling, Keeps Hindering Phones

Cingular has announced that they will demonstrate at CES video calling (what Cingular now calls Video Share). The nation’s largest carrier plans to make video calling, using the UMTS specification, available later this year. Both phones will have to be UMTS devices with video calling support.

Video calling support however has remained elusive. Cingular, unlike the former AT&T Wireless, has been stripping video calling support from their existing phones. This means that existing UMTS users on Cingular will have to purchase new phones, unless Cingular choses the unlikely path of issuing firmware updates.

The Cingular 8525, based on HTC’s Hermes, had the forward-facing camera removed (at Cingular’s demand); a requirement for the $600+ device to make video calls. Cingular has declined to comment to as to how they plan to handle video calling support for existing devices.

Cingular Press Release