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uStream Releases the iPhone Recorder App Karishma Sundaram | , 5:25 p.m. Aug. 6, 2009 2009-08-06

Lifecasting is the latest Internet trend to emerge, capturing the fancy of many individuals. It combines instantaneous life updates, which became popular with start-ups like Twitter, and video recording. Lifecasting is an Internet service where individuals can take live video and stream it online for their contacts and the rest of the web to watch in real time. The charm and allure of lifecasting lies in the ability to share real time videos with family and friends, allowing them to experience events vicariously. 

uStream started up in 2007 in an attempt to connect US troops stationed in Iraq with their families back home. uStream enabled the soldiers to video themselves and events around them so their families could watch the resultant movies at any given point of time. The concept took off exceptionally well with civilians also using the service to lifecast constantly. In fact, in addition to the everyday happenings in the life of a normal individual, politicians also used the service extensively to connect with their constituencies, where voters could receive instant answers to their queries. 

The popularity of uStream is significantly dependent on the easy availability of high resolution cameras which now come packaged in practically every phone in the market. In this particular market segment, the iPhone was a slight anomaly. 

While there is an iPhone app that allows users with uStream accounts to view streams on their handsets, there was no mechanism to record video. Although this lapse essentially defeats the entire purpose of uStream, there was no way for the developers to get around it, as the objections came from Apple and their arbitrary regulations concerning iPhone apps. 

However, there is a small light at the end of the tunnel, as Apple has allowed a newer version of the app to be uploaded to the App Store. The uStream 3GS Recorder will enable users to record video and post them to online accounts like uStream, Facebook and Twitter. The app has an upload queue with details for which video files are going where and incorporates a video management system as well. The app is entirely free, which is definitely an added bonus. 

There is, of course, a catch. uStream’s speciality lies in live streaming video. The new iPhone app doesn’t allow streaming; it records the video to the phone and then uploads the files at a later stage. Again, it is not because of the developer but Apple, who has put a spanner in the works. 

Unfortunately the app has a lot of company as a video recording application without its special live streaming angle. However, instead of getting bogged down by Apple and their rules, uStream aims to challenge its competitors by making the application exceptional. Additionally, there is another product in the offing that will tie in all the services and perhaps make the package stand out from other similar applications. How this will unfold remains to be seen, but as of now the uStream Recorder app is still an excellent video tool in its own right.

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