What can I say? The iPhone is THE WebRTC smartphone.
It is funny how reality and our belief of reality are two different things. At times, so different they share nothing in common. Such is the case for WebRTC on iOS.
Every other conversation I have with someone about WebRTC, gravitates towards where is WebRTC supported. We mention Internet Explorer and then Apple and its iPhone. The question usually being “can I use WebRTC on an iPhone?”
The answer usually is yes and no. Or its complicated.
So let’s simplify it for everyone a bit.
Let’s look at a few of the latest mobile application launches. Ones using WebRTC.
Talko is a vendor I’ve discussed here more than once. There’s an interview with Talko here as well. They rely heavily on WebRTC as a technology. They use it today only on mobile, while they do plan on expanding towards the web browser at some point. Oh – and they are available only on iOS. Not on Android. On iOS. That platform that has no WebRTC support.
Wire is another vendor that got in. I covered it in part on my post about reinventing communications.
Unlike Talko, who focus on voice communications, Wire is all about video. When Wire launched, it was iOS only. Today, it also supports Android and Mac OS X. Next up are Windows and the browser. Wire uses WebRTC to get things done, which shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point. Wire is a mobile first, iOS first type of a service (just like Talko).
Dupl is one more vendor that makes use of WebRTC. I found out about it from Martin Geddes‘ newsletter. You can find Dupl here. They are not much different from Wire if you ask me, even if Wire is voice only at the moment and Dupl offers video chats. While I haven’t tried either of them, they both gravitate around a better
video consumer calling experience. They both use WebRTC. And they both started on iOS. Dupl is available only on iOS at the moment.
appear.in, Gruveo, Talky.io and others are all started with a web service and added an iOS application. None of them has an Android application. They might add it in the future. They might not. I call this approach the Agile Hybrid one:
Where Android support relies on Chrome browser being available and iOS is achieved via an app.
Why is this important?
- While people are focused on WebRTC inside the browser, iOS has been quite accommodating for it – without any browser support
- Most communication consumption happening on mobile is through an app, so browser support is irrelevant to many
- Getting WebRTC on iOS is becoming easier with each passing month, due to enhanced support provided by Google and many valuable resources available from the larger community
- There are more than a single way to get started with WebRTC on iOS. Different alternatives are good for different scenarios
- There are more WebRTC apps running on iOS than there are running on Android
Thinking of tackling the challenge of getting WebRTC to run on an iOS device? Check out my recent report about WebRTC Adoption in Mobile Apps if you are looking to reduce your risks and understand more about your alternatives.
[UPDATE] There was a mistake with the initial post. Wire doesn’t support video calling. That has been amended in the explanation of Wire and Dupl, which referred to Wire.
Need to know where WebRTC is available? Download this free WebRTC Device Cheat Sheet.