Trendcam

One and a half years ago I wrote a post complaining that there were no IP-cam apps available for Symbian. I concluded that the options available were a waste of time.

Well it turns out there actually IS an app that will do what I want from it. A few days ago a user, Travis, commented that the app TrendCam would do what I wanted.

Continue reading if you want to know if this app is also a waste of time.

The TrendCam app can be found at trendcam.com and will enable your phone to host a small web-server, displaying an image from the camera. (Both cameras, and the screen can be used as source.)

Using pretty much any browser you should be able to view the image/video from the phone. All in all it’s a faily neat solution. There are some limitations though…

1. It’s a trial that makes you mad at the company

Trendfire (the company behind Trendcam) explains on their site that the app is a full functional trial version, and “Only a license reminder occurs on each frame”.

I almost laughed my lungs out when I saw that the licence reminder is really a big frigging huge red banner that blocks most of the screen, and scrolls around on it, making it almost impossible to figure out if you can use the app or not. The image below is when the image output is set to large.

An image showing how the licence reminder blocks the entire view of the screen, rendering the trial version completely useless

At this resolution the image is as big as the camera can capure, I think. (I’m a bit unsure, because at this setting Trendcam reports the image size as nothing at all.) The frame rate is very low even though the network connection is good. Perhaps the poor old Nokia does not have the power to compress the images fast enough.

The licence banner gets even funnier when you pick a lower resolution. Since the banner does not scale, it fills the image completely. You can still notice that the frame rate is now much higher, but since you’re unable to see anything on the screen you can’t really evaluate anything.

TrendcamSmall

The price for the full version is €9.95  / $14.95.  I guess this is sort of low enough if you really need this, but my guess is that you won’t bother.

2. Stability of the app

The app ran pretty much ok. And you could use this for presentations or even as a nanny cam. When it runs, and the browser is showing the image everything works fine. However, if you refresh the browser a bit too often somthing seems to go wrong. This requires you to get to the phone, and disable and reenable the app to make it work again. When this is done Trendcam has a habbit of switching to another IP port. I assume it figures out that port 80 is blocked… (by it’s own process)… so it starts another one on port 81 instead. This means that you must also change port on the browser to see the video stream. Thus you need physcial access to the phone to use it. You probably won’t be able to leave it running for days without having to restart the app.

3. The video format

The “video format” is really an html page with images being switched by javascript. So you won’t be able to have TrendCam feed into any of the usual video capture solutions used for surveillance.

Conclusion

Well, if you want a portable camera that will show images to a browser where you can use them for looking at, and don’t need recording or anything it’s probably a fun solution that might just justify the price. It’s not really that the price is high, it’s just that the end result with a crappy phone camera, that will still need to be connected to a power source most of the time, is not really useful for anything.

If you need an IP-camera, and do not need the mobility, go buy a cheap real IP-camera. The cheapest ones go for tripple the price of TrendCam, but the image quality and frame rate will probably be better than the crappy phone camera.

If Trendcam was free it would be a fairly nice app. But as it is now, in my humble opinion, it’s trying to make money off a solution that will disappoint most people.

3 thoughts on “Trendcam

  1. Hi Timo,

    nice article.
    Trendcam would have done it for me, but it transmits no sound.
    For an html/javascript solution it works better as you would imagine.
    The worse thing is the price.

    Meanwhile i bought me a really cheap China NCB-541W cam.
    Works fine for me.

  2. Thank you for this, I found Trendcam via your page.

    One thing I have to add:
    You can have TrendCam feed into any of the usual video capture solutions.
    You can use the mjpg-file of Trendcam with any surveillance program that works with mjpg. You find the file in Trendcam: http:\\ip-adress-of-the-cam\trendcam.mjpg
    so e. g. http:\\192.168.0.25\trendcam.mjpg

    Works perfect with my old Nokia phones X6, C6 and N8

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