Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Sidecar App Helps People Share When They’re Already on a Call

Amid all the recent innovation around mobile applications for social networking, playing games and taking pictures, some of the core phone functionality might be due for a refresh.

A new free Android and iPhone app called Sidecar brings a few tweaks to the mobile dial pad, such as helping people share live video, photos, locations, contacts and texts during phone calls.

What’s nice about Sidecar is that it allows all those items to be shared after a normal phone call is already happening.

This is the kind of functionality that would probably seem more natural within the native dialing experience than within an application, but a start-up has to start somewhere.

So instead of being in the middle of a phone conversation, and then switching tasks to the address book to look up someone’s phone number and reading it out loud, a Sidecar user can tap on the big “contact” button, scroll to the right number, and send it directly to the person on the line.

As for its video feature — which helps users stream live video into an existing call — Sidecar has actually filed for a trademark on the phrase “See What I See.” As you might guess, the focus is to show what’s in front of the caller, unlike something like Apple’s FaceTime, which defaults to iOS devices’ front-facing camera.

The Sidecar app has a simple — you might even say rudimentary — interface. It works best when one Sidecar user calls another. Sidecar users can dial out to nonusers over Wi-Fi, and for free within the U.S. and Canada.

Founded by former RealNetworks execs Rob Glaser and Rob Williams, Sidecar was previously a social video service called SocialEyes. Funnily enough, when it launched last year, I faulted the company for its lack of mobile support.

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus