Microsoft says Xbox ain't the only 360 round here

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Microsoft RoundTable
Video conferencing has been The Next Big Thing for about twenty years now. I mean, it's 2006 ; how come we don't have video phones? Sure, your webcam can do a passable job, but they have plenty of limitations. For example, ever tried to get more than one or two people in a webcam shot?

Microsoft has a plan for changing that, and a nifty piece of hardware to go along with it. The big MS is developing a VoIP stragety as part of its Unified Communications Platform is targeted specifically at businesses. As such, they've developed the Microsoft RoundTable, a 360 degree webcam that allows you to see a panoramic view of everybody around a conference table, or, alternatively, focus in on the people who are doing the speaking.

It's a clever idea, and one that fills in a pretty glaring gap in webcam technology. While Apple's iChat does allow up to 4 people to have a video chat, it doesn't really have good support for more than one person using a single webcam. Could this do for video conferencing what speakerphones have long been doing for audio?

[via Gizmodo ]

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