Had a fascinating video call this morning with a Doctor colleague who’s invested some time trying out his new Apple iPad 2 and I think it’s soon going to be obvious to everyone that the tablet hardware manufacturers have got their camera priorities wrong: the high quality one should be on the front.
But why’s it taken so long for the hardware manufacturers to appreciate this – surely they must have found the big screen view finder experience a bit odd?
Well I think it’s because until very recently there has been a culture of thinking amongst their customers (the mobile operators) that mobile devices are still just little inferior siblings to computers. Thankfully the pace of change, ever faster processors, high resolution tablet screen sizes and the opportunity to hold tablet to tablet video calls has changed all that.
So what will these higher quality forward facing cameras enable?
Imagine the opportunity a tablet (with video editing software) provides for Doctors to create patient information videos spontaneously? See an interesting patient, learn something new, look at your tablet, press record, say what you’re thinking. At the end of the day, on your way home for example, open your movie editing software add a title screen and cut and paste your clinics branded opening/closing video sequences. Upload the content onto your clinic website for posterity. Next time you or your colleagues see a patient with similar issues they can refer them to this video, tag it and patients will be able to find it for themselves, share it with colleagues who can rate and add to it….
People used to think this type of thing needed a recording studio… now there’s a pocketable take it anywhere alternative and all it needs is a reversal of the manufacturers sense of priority for camera quality. I think the market and appeal of this is massive and reaches across a wide variety of industries. Imagine the potential for digital engagement if the NHS enabled it’s 70k+ hospital Doctors to be able to contribute as easily as this? Go the whole hog and give GP clinics their own secure websites plus a tablet and you you could probably create a sustainable alternative to NHS Direct within a month.
I’m thinking the appetite for this is going to be so big that by in the next year there’ll be a tablet with either a forward facing camera ONLY or AT LEAST the same performance on the front camera as the rear mounted one. So what else is on my wish list? how about 2 adjacent cameras (for 3D), auto zoom, pinch to zoom, point to track, remote control of the other devices camera/screen…
It might seem obvious but there’s still a certain big device manufacturer (who maintained the same video call UX for 5+ years) holding back on launching a tablet because it “can’t see how it can be differentiated from the competition”.