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Fring brings Skype video calls to mobile

Will you use video if it's free? Ah g'wan

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Skype-gateway-to-mobile providers Fring have added support for a selection of S60 devices, bringing free video calling to Symbian handsets.

Fring is an identity-aggregating app that also gateways into Skype's voice network, providing Skype connectivity on the move. That's been voice-only until now, but the latest release manages to integrate with Skype's video service offering video calling for the cost of the data connection - ideally on an unlimited tariff.

Fring promises to port the video capability to all its mobile clients, but for the moment only those equipped with the more recent Nokia handsets will be able to make and receive video calls from Skype users for free: assuming the date is carried over Wi-Fi or a flat-rate data connection.

The chaps over at All About Symbian have been much impressed by the utility of the new Fring client, though admit that the quality of video wasn't terribly good from the never-before-used forward-facing handset camera.

Video calling has fallen from the must-have application that was supposed to drive the adoption of 3G handsets to a novelty experience, and finally to something few people even remember is supposed to be possible these days. But it's conceivable that if video calls were free they might get more used, and one can imagine parents on business trips staying in touch with family over a video link.

Not that that will make any money for Fring. For all its technical nous the company still lacks a business model, and the $10m the company raised in May won't last forever. ®

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