Version Reviewed: 1.2
Graphics / Sound [rating:4.5/5]
iPhone Integration/User Interface [rating:5/5]
I must admit, I'm slightly embarrassed that there hasn't been a review on iCam written yet. Not only is it an app that has literally been on my phone for months but it's THE APP I use to brag about my iPhone with. When I first stumbled across it in the App Store and mustarded up the $5 to buy it, I admit that I was a bit nervous that I might of wasted my money. After 5 minutes though my fears were put to rest as I knew this app would never leave my phone again. Have I built it up enough yet? I've really been working on my infomercial skills (I need a 2nd job, after all it is a recession).
Ok, ready...wait for it...iCam is a video streamer! Yes a video streamer, but not like YouTube or some other knock off, oh no, this is way different. Using iCam you can actually stream video straight from your computer's webcam to your iPhone. It's absolutely nuts!
The way it works is by downloading a free source file from the developer's website which can be run on both Mac and Windows based computers. Once you launch the source file you're given a setup screen with several options, the most important being selecting your camera and creating a unique ID & password. You would then open the iCam app on your phone, enter the password and presto you're suddenly seeing your webcam on your phone.
When I start showing people this they're often impressed but skeptical thinking that you have to be on the same local wi-fi network. Not true, while this ususally provides the best results, the video can actually be streamed across the internet whether it be via a WAN, 3G network, or even (dare I say it) Edge! Yes Edge, slowed down significantly maybe but none the less it still works.
So what could be better than being able to watch your one streaming video straight to your phone? How about the ability to watch 4 at once? Yeah seriously, iCam can support up to 4 cameras at once by spliting the screen into 4 equal sections. If you want to see just one of them full screen then it's as simple as a screen tap.
But wait, there's more! (See I'm getting good at this infomercial thing). The first major update they did added something they promised from the begining, sound support. It is a bit laggy at times with the lag increasing dramatically with the slower connection you or your computer is on but it's good enough to at least know what's going on/being said. If this wasn't enough though with 3.0 they did even more with motion detection and push. Now for the one time charge of $.99 you can add push support to the application, and anytime any of the cameras sense motion in it's field of view then a notification will be sent to your phone indicating the movement. At first I was concerned this could create a bit of an annoyance, especially if you have a fan or something in the same room. I'm sure we've all had those outdoor motion detector lights that seem to flip on for no apparent reason and frankly the idea of receiving a text message just as frequently made me cringe. Fortunately I don't think I was the only one with this fear and iCam supports sensitivity settings that can be changed either on the phone itself or right on the computer. If used correctly you can even have a moving object in the same room, like a fan, and it won't detect it but once something else enters, DING DING, you're alerted.
Everything this app does is amazing but I also want to take a moment and point out how easy they made it to use. SKJM really did their homework with this guy, when adding the source file to a computer it's a quick download from their website and doesn't require routing through any firewalls or anything, it just does it. Some great uses for this app are obvious like a security system, nanycam, pet watcher, etc but they are limitless at the same time and thats really what I love. I personally don't have a whole lot of use for this guy other than watching my fish from work, haha. What it does give me though is a feeling of excitement for the iPhone and the future. Sure there are some really amazing games out there and potential for even greater ones that I'm sure will come but what makes the iPhone so special to me is it's potential to change the way we do things all together. iCam does just that or at least makes me feel like I'm really in one of those Sci-Fi movies based in the future. Buy it, embrace it, show it off, you are an iPhone user! And you have the right to laugh when someone pulls out their Storm or their Pre because lets be honest, they've got nothing on us.