Your phone is a webcam

11 October, 2005

mobiola1, by pip

It seems so obvious, I don’t why it didn’t occur to me before – my phone can take video and it has a bluetooth connection (which I use all the time for transferring photos to my PC), thus making it the perfect portable webcam device.

Mobiola is a piece of software which lets you use these features of your Symbian phone to good effect. It’s free for a 30-day trial, during which connections are limited to 5-minute bursts, and thereafter it’s $20 for life, which isn’t bad I suppose, but I always feel slightly cheated having to pay for mobile software which probably isn’t going to last me very long (due to the neverending upgrade cycle) and probably only does 70% of what I’d like it to do.

The same applies to Mobiola – whilst it’s a cool application of the phone’s features, the app isn’t really good enough to pay for, mainly because the video quality is so low. This is obviously because the PC part of the software updates the view from the webcam in real-time and there’s a bandwidth cap on how much data the phone can transfer to make these feasible.

What I’d really like to see is the option for a higher quality of video, buffered and maybe saved to the PC for viewing later, rather than displayed in real-time. Also, it doesn’t allow you to zoom like the built-in video recorder does, which was the first thing I tried to do, so that would be nice. Still, it’s a great example of the flexibility of these devices.

(thanks to kokeshi for pointing this out)

See other posts tagged with general and all posts made in October 2005.


12 October, 2005 at 10:44

I was interested to see it call itself a “driver” – maybe if you had some other webcam software it might be more flexible?


12 October, 2005 at 11:46

That’s a good point, and they do hint at this on the website: “compatible with any Windows application that can receive video feeds from a web camera” but I think it’s the mobile client which needs the work rather than the PC software, sadly.

13 October, 2005 at 09:41

This program was created for using with any other windows software which can capture video e.g. Windows Movie Maker or Yahoo! Messenger or Skype.

Dug Falby
20 October, 2005 at 19:47

Gord I’ve wanted to do this for soooo long.

Of course I’m on Mac OS X so not terribly useful yet…

22 October, 2005 at 01:59

Mac OS version is in development right now and will be ready in 3 month

29 April, 2006 at 12:31

All adverts will be deleted.

12 November, 2006 at 20:07

hi, just saw this, i have been building a robot and need some sort of webcam to act as its eyes and allow me to see what it has been doing, and it is just to expensive to buy a wireless or bluetooth webcam nowdays so i was wondering is anywone knows if my sony W850i could be modified to do something like that

10 April, 2007 at 17:58

Mobiola Web Camera Lite, which is a J2ME version of this software, is now undergoing Java verification process. after it is done it will be possilbe to use with many modern J2ME handsets including W850i

21 May, 2007 at 20:55

So, when could we expect release of Mobiola for J2ME?

22 May, 2007 at 08:29

I think we now have J2ME version of Mobiola Web Camera. I’ve found it here.