FaceVsion may not be a familiar name, but its parent, Quanta, is a Fortune 500 company that claims 30 percent of the world's notebook market share, thanks to its role as an OEM supplier to brands like Dell, HP and Sony.
FaceVsion's market is HD video communications kit for consumers and SMEs, and European MD Darren Chen came into ZDNet UK earlier this week to show off the company's first UK release: the £90 (inc. VAT) TouchCam N1.
The TouchCam N1 isn't the first affordable USB webcam to support HD (1,280-by-720-pixel) video at a decent frame rate (22fps), but it is the first to include a built-in hardware H.264 encoder. This allows it to handle two-way HD (720p) video calls, so long as you have Skype 4.2 for Windows and at least 1Mbps of upload and download internet bandwidth at both ends of the call. The TouchCam N1 is the first webcam to be certified by Skype for HD calls. FaceVsion also offers its own software, QuLives, which claims to support 720p with just 512Kbps of bandwidth.
The built-in H.264 encoder makes it possible to use the TouchCam for HD video calls on lower-specification hardware than would otherwise be possible if the host CPU had to take on the additional load.
The TouchCam N1 has an autofocus lens with a wide 78-degree field of view. In a test video call we could clearly see three or four people clustered around a desk, where other less wide-angle optics would struggle to fit in three. Dual microphones make for good audio quality, too.
So far, we're impressed with FaceVsion's kit, and look forward to testing its higher-end 'telepresence' products aimed at SMEs and larger businesses.