Android phones get free video calling
Still no sign of a Fring business model
A new version of identity-aggregation application Fring brings video calling to Android handsets, despite the company's ever-lacking business model.
The new Fring client for Android has all the usual VoIP and messaging functions: aggregating identities from Skype, GoogleTalk and SIP-based telephony services, as well as ICQ, AIM and MS Messenger for instant messaging, but Android users can now also share the video-calling goodness with their iPhone and Symbian contacts.
That's assuming their Android handset is up to it - Fring reckons its software will automatically check the available processing power with video calling only appearing if it's actually possible. But that should include the Nexus One, Motorola Droid and HTC Desire, as well as anything better.
Fring's video calling service is integrated with Skype, so you should see (and be seen by) any Skype user, assuming you've found a Wi-Fi or decent 3G connection and aren't paying by the byte.
Fring had promised more platforms would follow the addition of video to the Symbian version which was launched last November, so now Android users can discover how quickly the novelty of being able to see the person you're calling wears off.
There are occasions when video calling makes sense, but they are few and far between and certainly not something for which users were ever prepared to pay. Giving the service away might make it slightly more popular, but it still isn't going to make any money for Fring which is still searching for a revenue model. ®
No front camera
With neither the Nexus One nor the Desire having a front camera (i.e. where you can be on camera and also see the screen), they're not very useful for video calls.
I'm not sure aboute cameras on the milestone.
Video calls, never used
As an ex-Three employee where I used to have a completely company sponsored 3G phone with video calling, the only time I ever used it in about 2 years was when someone couldn't find a USB port and we went video so I could see that the port had been completely disconnected from the front panel.
It's a dead duck already. Enthusing about it's plumage isn't going to revive it. How about a nice iPuppy instead?
Front Facing Camera?
Okay, so I think we realise there is no front facing camera on those models, and that you can use a mirror.
But why does video calling just have to be about showing your face to the other party? Video calling would still work by seeing the other person's video and more importantly seeing their face is quite boring.
Being able to see the rear camera is more interesting. If you are ringing to tell someone about the amazing view of the Grand Canyon, or trying to get help fixing something, or telling someone about the big traffic jam on the road they are going to be travelling having the view of what you are seeing is a lot bettter than having a, not so pretty, mug being beamed out.
I blagged a couple of videophones for my deaf daughter and us during the Orange 3G trials with free videocalls.
Worked brilliantly despite the small screen. We could easily read each other's signing. Did try and push Orange into marketing to the BSL community but they were not interested. And the tariff set on launch of the service forced us back to texting.
So after having had a front facing camera on my last 3 mobiles I had to think long and hard about buying a desire without one! I did a quick count of the number of video calls I had made over the past five years and decided it wazsn't going to be tooo much of an issue as the total was zero! I had attempetd to Video Call the missus on her PAYG but that was not allowed! wtf!? its me trying to pay for it!