Symbian phones like Nokia or Ericsson models usually have excellent cameras, with Carl Zeiss lenses and multiple megapixels, mimicking a fairly good digital point-and-shoot.
Webcams also have a wide range, from the high quality video conferencing ones to the more affordable lower quality ones. Instead of investing in two pieces of expensive equipment, it is possible to stick to buying a high-end mobile phone, and use that camera as a webcam.
There are a number of webcam applications that carry out this function, and most of them are Bluetooth compatible, or can be connected by cable. This article has rounded up a few of the ones currently available.
1. Mobiola (4 out of 5)
Mobiola is my software of choice, because it works on numerous platforms. It covers the entire gamut of Symbian phones, right from the Series 60 ones to the UIQ phones by Sony Ericsson. The application comes in two parts; the client side module is installed on the mobile device, and the drivers are setup on the Windows PC. The interface is extraordinarily easy to use, mainly because there aren’t too many fancy features. While this doesn’t disadvantage the application use in any way, it would have added a great dimension to the overall product appeal. Mobiola works with all of the popular instant messaging applications, like Skype, Windows Live and ICQ.
2. SoftCam (3 out of 5)
SoftCam is has a different approach, and wasn’t created specifically for the purpose of using a mobile phone’s camera as a webcam. SoftCam is a video streaming software of sorts, where a user can create their own video channel. The application can then be connected up to another application’s input stream, like an instant messenger program, thereby turning SoftCam into a webcam of sorts.
SoftCam can accept multiple sources as inputs, including a mobile phone’s camera. The true advantage of SoftCam is the ability to manipulate multiple streams, ranging from live inputs to stored media as well.
For SoftCam to work as a webcam, the user would have to use SoftCam in conjunction with Remote Series 60, which is an application which allows a user to manipulate their phone from a PC.
3. Wwigo (4 out of 5)
Wwigo is short for ‘Webcam Wherever I Go’, and uses a similar model as Mobiola. Wwigo consists of two parts, one to be installed on the mobile phone and the other on the PC. The range of phones that are supported is somewhat less, with only Series 60 2nd and 3rd editions making the cut. The application uses Bluetooth to transfer video data to the computer, as it is compatible with quite a few of the stacks of that technology. Using Bluetooth as a medium also allows a wireless transfer, reducing the clutter considerably, and is also much faster.
Wwigo has won a number of awards, and new releases have come out as recently as August this year. A major advantage over other products, Wwigo is freeware.
There are of course many more applications that are available as alternates. Keeping in mind usability, functionality and cost, these were some of the best available.