Since ‘the tallest mountain’ and ‘the deepest sea’ are naturally referred to as some of the most isolated places on the planet, it can be near enough guaranteed that they are the locations with some of the worst mobile signal coverage, although the exemption to that rule is the literal former example (Mount Everest) and its status as a popular enough ‘destination’ to be able to support even the most data-heavy calls.
The concept was this week officially proven by Taiwanese company HTC, whose HTC One phone was used in the world’s first-ever ‘video call from the summit of Mount Everest’. At 8,848m above sea level, the call between charity climber Daniel Hughes and the BBC News team will not be surpassed as the highest (on solid ground at least), while temperatures of -35°C also ensured it would be one of the coldest locations for a web-chat.
Hughes, participating in a project for the UK’s Comic Relief fundraising drive, aimed to raise £1m through his ascent, and has been recording key moments of his journey through the HTC One and its ’Immarsa mobile satellite technology’ (where signal interference would naturally not be a problem for any satellite receivers to handle).
Much like astronauts in the 1970′s who had endless ideas to be able to accomplish ’first x on the moon’, Hughes also marked a number of ‘achievements’ that were unlikely to have been done before hand, performing ‘the world’s highest Harlem Shake’, and being the first to place a red nose (the symbol of Comic Relief) at the summit, which serves as a border between Nepal and Tibet (China).
Hughes explained his pride at his accomplishments, stating in the satellite interview: “This project has been two and a half years in the making and it’s hard to put into words how amazing and surreal it is to be speaking to London from the highest point in the world. The support for the expedition has been phenomenal and thanks to the interactive nature of the climb, I really felt like I had everyone behind me.”
A HTC spokesperson added from a safer location: “We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of design and innovation and the HTC One was put to the ultimate test in extreme conditions, where it was able to help Daniel connect to everyone back home – even from the top of the world. We’re truly proud to have been part of Daniel’s amazing journey.”
The ‘landmark phone call’ can be seen below, while supporters of his effort are encouraged to donate via the ‘Everest Millions‘ website. With the highest possible video chat (without being in a plane or in orbit) now complete, it is up to rivals such as Samsung, Apple, or Google to see HTC’s boast and raise it (or lower it, since ‘deepest call’ would have to be the most attainable record now)…