So, you have an Android phone with a front-facing camera. What do you do now? Since Android lacks a built-in video chat app like Apple’s FaceTime, if you’re looking to get a little video chat action going on your Android phone you’ll have to head to the Market and download one of a few apps that do just that. Here’s a run down of your options:
1. Qik
Qik was the first video chat app available for Android. It supports two-way video chat even if your phone doesn’t have a front-facing camera (mirrors can be useful here) as well as video recording, streaming and sending of “video messages.”
It works just like you would expect, you can place a call to others on your contact list who also have the app. The interface is intuitive and it took no time to get everything set up. If you have multiple cameras on your device, Qik will let you chose which one you’d like to use to place your call. Qik seems to be the go-to app for video calling on Android, even shipping with newer devices like the HTC EVO 4G.
2. Fring
Continuing the trend of video calling apps with silly names, Fring has also made a name for itself being cross-platform (iOS, Android and Blackberry) as well as cross-service (Fring supports a laundry list of IM services including Google Talk, Skype. AOL IM, MSN Messenger, Jabber, ICQ, Facebook MessagesĀ and more). Like Skype, Fring also has a FringOut feature which allows you to call other phones using your data plan.
While you can only video chat with other Fring users, it helps that the app is available for every mobile device. You can video call on Wifi or 3G, and can text and voice chat using one of the many messaging services that it supports. While Fring might not have the prettiest interface, it makes up for it in sheer usefulness. It’s definitely one of the best chat clients on Android, and live video chat is a huge bonus if your phone supports it.
3. Coming soon: Skype
It’s obvious Skype is the king of video chat on PCs. Video chatting with someone on your computer has become “skyping” them, and its by far the most known-about chat service. While Skype has had an app on Verizon Android phones for some time now, it’s only been able to do text and video chatting. Coming in 2011, however, is a Skype app for all Android devices that supports two-way video chat. There’s no official announcement or release date yet, but look out for this app if you want to do some video chatting on your Android device–it will most definitely be one of the best.