Android Alternatives to FaceTime

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.

iPhone Newbie Adventures Continue

Today I had decided that I want to be able to use a cool service I have been hearing so much about called Qik. After all, I have a phone that appears to be capable of streaming live video using this awesome service, so it makes sense to take this Qik thing for a spin, right? Not so fast.

As I later learned, the “installation” of Qik requires something called Cydia, according to this page provided by Qik specifically. Okay, how bad can that be? Right? Just get it installed and get on with it, easy peasy! Clearly nothing that I should be aware of…wait, where is the link for this Cydia that Qik makes sound so accessible and easy to install? I mean, the above linked page says all I need to do is install it…yet there is no link??

Then I found out more about Cydia. Well on the plus side, it is open source and provides access to software you might not have available otherwise. Awesome, let’s install it! Wait, better read this again…

If you followed my Step 1 guide for activating, jailbreaking, and unlocking the iPhone, then you should already have the Installer installed.

Wait, I have to jailbreak my iPhone to use any of this? Thus, sending my warranty into never, never land? Um, nope, sorry, no winners here. While both Qik and Cydia sound really cool, I am not made of iPhones, therefore would rather not wipe my nose with my phone’s warranty or the AppleCare protection that I suspect would be null if I jailbreak it. Am I being overly cautious or should Qik find a way not to require a jailbroken iPhone?

Yahoo! Live

Online video is certainly a hot thing right now, and it’s become easy for anyone to either watch or create their own videos on the Internet. This isn’t just some fad, either. This is the future, and many people have opted to get rid of their cable or satellite television service and stick with what they view on the Web. Most of the time what you watch online is prerecorded, but live broadcasts are becoming more commonplace thanks to services like Justin.tv, Ustream, and Qik. These live video broadcasts really bring online video to the next level, and some of the major players in the technology arena have taken notice. Yes, even Yahoo! has now thrown their hat into the ring with Yahoo! Live.

The interface is slick, and Yahoo! Live contains many of the same features that are a part of other live video services. For example, these live sessions can be embedded, and things get interactive though text chat and other means. Since Yahoo! is such a large company, you might expect their network to be able to support the demands of this service, but it’s still an experimental release, and it’s just not very stable right now. Because of this, Ustream and the others are making Yahoo! look bad, but hopefully the reliability will improve so that Yahoo! Live can become a true contender.

Qik

Live video streaming via the Internet has become a big thing lately, and our very own fearless leader Chris Pirillo has had some great success with his efforts in this area. There’s just something about it that is so engaging, and the fact that it’s happening at the very moment that you’re watching it contributes to the fascination that it creates. Most of the time it’s completely unrehearsed, so you have no idea what you’re going to see, but even when it’s boring it’s still interesting. To me, live video that is mobile is the most fun to watch, and Qik has totally redefined what that means.

Until now, streaming video while you’re on the move has been a complicated and (depending on the circumstances) somewhat expensive thing to do, but Qik enables you to use the phone that you already have to stream live video. All you have to do is use their software, and while it’s only available for a limited number of phones at this time, they do promise to continually add support for new phones. Since this is Windows Fanatics, let’s hope for Windows Mobile support in addition to support for other platforms. Once you’re done broadcasting live, your videos will be archived so that the moments can continue to live on. Access to the service is somewhat limited at this time, and I’m sure plenty of people are trying to get in. I can’t wait to see how Qik expands over the next few months.