AT&T launched the VideoPhone 2500 in 1992 with high hopes that it would finally bring video calling to the masses. Ultimately, it fared no better than AT&T's previous attempts at commercial video phones, all of which exited the market quickly after their introduction.
For $1599.99 ($2,486.19 in 2010 dollars), you received a single phone unit that could send audio and color video (at up to ten frames per second) simultaneously over a regular phone line. It worked its magic through a 19.2 kbps data stream, which is minuscule by today's standards, but was state of the art in 1992. Unfortunately, the video functionality of the VideoPhone 2500 was useless without another $1599.99 phone to interact with — perhaps the fatal flaw in AT&T's plan.
If you're interested in learning more about the history of video telephone technology, check out my latest Technologizer slideshow, 132 Years of Videophones.
Discussion Topic of the Week: If you owned an easy-to-use videophone device — and everyone else had one — how often do you think you'd use its video functionality?