LAS VEGAS--A few days ago, we wrote about how Tely Labs, a startup out of Silicon Valley, had launched an Android-based Skype HD video phone for TVs. Well, the $249now has company, as Samsung Techwin America has introduced a very similar product, the InTouch camera system, for $50 less.
Like the TelyHD, the Samsung InTouch is designed to be hooked onto the top of your flat-panel TV, runs on the Android operating system, offers Wi-Fi connectivity and 720p video, and has the Skype application integrated right into the unit. The service is free, and if you're a Skype subscriber already you can log in immediately and start making video calls.
Also like the TelyHD, the InTouch comes with additional preloaded apps, such as YouTube, Google News and Weather, and full Web browsing, plus it can display photos stored on a thumbdrive (there's a USB slot on the back of the camera).
Samsung also includes a palm-size QWERTY keyboard for Web browsing and composing e-mails and instant messages. We're still checking whether an HDMI cable is included for connecting the camera to your TV, but at least on the surface the InTouch seems like a potentially better deal than the TelyHD. It's also worth noting that it runs on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) while the TelyHD runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo). However, the TelyHD features 2GB of internal memory while the InTouch has only 512MB.
Both companies expect to add additional apps to offer even more functionality.
Alas, we haven't had a full demo of the system yet here at CES, so we can't compare it with the TelyHD, which is already available (Tely Labs gave us a demo of the TelyHD at our offices in New York).
Samsung says the InTouch hits stores in March for $199.99, and we'll give a full review of the system--and a comparison with the TelyHD--when it ships.