Apple’s two-way video chat application, FaceTime, runs only on iPhone4 hardware and only over WiFi connections, frustrating many potential users. Now there’s a new app for that – one that works on different phones and doesn’t require WiFi.
Fring has just released a cross-platform video chatting application. It supports the iPhone4’s front-facing camera, can use a 3G network, and can send video messages to devices other than the iPhone, including Android and Nokia phones.
iPhone 3GS users can participate in a video call, although it’s only one way on their end (because the GS doesn’t have two cameras). On Sprint’s Evo 4G, which has two cameras, two different video chat applications are available; Qik and Fring.
C/Net says Apple’s FaceTime is the hands-down winner compared to Fring in terms of video quality, ease-of-use, and features. But, of course, FaceTime only operates over Wi-Fi and requires an iPhone4. PC Magazine thought the difference between the EVO and iPhone4 video chat applications was fairly close.
When Apple unveiled the iPhone 4, CEO Steve Jobs said FaceTime will be restricted to Wi-Fi in 2010 since Apple had to work out details with cellular providers. Sprint’s EVO phone, on the other hand, uses the WiMAX 4G network, making it more mobile.
For AT&T and Verizon, popularity of videophone chat services could be their worst nightmare. It will put a strain on their network, especially if cross-carrier applications like Fring become popular. Huge demand for video calling has already overloaded the Fring website.