The end of the webcam business.
I still remember my first webcam. It was a ball-shaped Logitech camera. I don’t recall if it was serial or USB, but I do recall it being really crappy.
Webcams have come a long way since then. I was a big fan of the Logi Brio a few years ago, my first 4K webcam. I’ve been generally frustrated with what passes as acceptable quality when it comes to cams on PCs, laptops, phones, and tablets. The camera on my current Windows laptop is about the same quality as the one that came with Windows 98.
The pandemic elevated the importance of webcams (finally). So much that the standalone webcam may actually disappear. More devices are getting cameras, and more cameras are getting good – or acceptable.
Almost everything from Apple now has a minimum of a 12 MP webcam The new Apple Studio Display combines a high resolution 27" monitor, a 12 MP webcam, and high end spatial audio components in a single form factor. Dell and Samsung have new similar products, and I expect more.
[MP as in MegaPixel which means .. something. Good look comparing camera specs. There’s more specs than resolutions. Field of View (FOV), aperture, and image sensor all affect the quality. I’ll just say “HD” to generally refer to the above average, not-cheap or free cams.]
Or, go with meeting appliances like the Webex Desk Pro from Cisco. It works without a PC and offers comparable specs to the Apple Studio. The Desk Pro is also a 27" display, has a 4k webcam, and spatial audio that connects to a PC with a single USB C cable. Both the Apple and the Cisco have AI-assisted camera framing and background substitution. The Cisco also has (really good) built-in noise filtering and supports Apple Play.
There’s other appliances at every price point including the DTEN Pro for Zoom, the Neat Frame for Zoom or Windows. and the Meta Portals. Still looking? Consider the iPhone as a webcam for your Mac? Can’t wait to see what HP does with the Poly P21.
I don’t have anything against the standalone webcam, but they really shouldn’t exist. A decent camera should be built into whatever you are using. Smartphones accelerated cam R&D, and they have gotten pretty impressive - and cheap.
I think it’s safe to say, you have purchased more standalone webcams than you will.