> Videophones are a function of bandwidth and compression tech. Just as
> as the cable companies get a large enough installed base of high-speed net
> connections, this is going to happen -- why shouldn't it, with high-res
> cameras now in the sub-$200 range?
Actually, IMO there is a simple, non-technological reason why videophones will not emerge in the consumer market anytime soon: we don't want them. I'm not interested, no matter how cheap it is, and neither is anyone else that I know - and that includes a lot of techno-gadget addicts.
Businesses will want videophones for all sorts of good reasons - and they already have them, and the prices are falling just like you predict. Residential use will have to wait for a generation that doesn't mind answering the thing in a bathrobe, or (more likely) for an image-editing AI good enough that people won't be worrying about what they look like.
Billy Brown, MCSE+I