Top 5 mobile video chat apps
Out of all of the video apps Skype was the last to implement the video chat option. With CES just around the corner I personally expected them to wait until then to launch it. CES is the world’s largest consumer technology trade show. It will run from January 6 through 9 in Las Vegas. Only three of the iPhone/iPod Touch are able to share video chat; iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4th Generation. You can also chat from your apple device to computer using Skype. This app can be used not only with Wi-Fi but 3G as well. Currently, mobile Skype is only available through the Apple App Store. Skype has yet to comment on Android support but with CES in the near future more information may become available. I personally tested this application from an iPhone 4 to an iPod Touch 4th Generation. When using Wi-Fi on both devices there was good quality; while using 3G on the iPhone 4 there were occasional glitches. For my next test I used my iPhone 4 to Windows 7 computer. Since both devices were using Wi-Fi the video call quality was good.
When Yahoo! updated their mobile application to support video chat they were the first to give you the ability to video chat from an iPhone to a computer. Just like Skype Yahoo! Messenger can use both Wi-Fi and 3G. The video quality over Wi-Fi is very good however; the video box itself does not take up the full screen real estate. Over 3G the video quality is lower. Yahoo! added the video support on October 11th and about two months later Android received their video chat update.
After getting my new iPhone 4 with the new front facing video camera I was very pleased with using only FaceTime. However, only being able to call Apple mobile devices using Wi-Fi was not optimal. I wanted to be able to call Android mobile devices with 3G capabilities. Over Wi-Fi, Tango was the first app to resemble FaceTime quality. With a strong 3G connection the quality is usable but like all the other apps it still does not match the quality of Wi-Fi. One of Tango’s unique and user friendly features is the ability to synch up with your address book by using your telephone number as your login. When it was first released you could only use Tango on a cell phone however, after numerous user request you can now use with an iPod Touch 4th Generation. When using the iPod Touch instead of your mobile phone you set up your account with an email address as opposed to your telephone number. Currently, there is no Tango software for computers so you are limited to using the app with hand held devices.
Fring was the first application to support video chat capabilities. In the beginning, the quality was very ugly and Fring’s entire interface was unfriendly on both Apple and Android mobile devices. For the first few days you could add your Skype add-on to your Fring account. Then without warning the Skype option disappeared from the add-on section. You could then only video chat using Fring to Fring on mobile devices only. On December 6th, Fring updated their iPhone video application. Fring’s video calling now uses DVQ “Dynamic Video Quality” Technology. With the new update the quality is much better as is the overall experience. Just like Skype, Yahoo and Tango you can use this over Wi-Fi as well as 3G but as with all the other applications I recommend Wi-Fi for optimum quality.
When it comes to quality FaceTime is your app. The iPhone 4 was the first device to have FaceTime capabilities. Since then, the iPod Touch 4th Generation was launched with FaceTime capabilities. Apple has listened to their loyal users and have made a Beta version for Mac computers available through Apple.com. FaceTime is currently only supported on Wi-Fi only. However, with a jailbroken apple device you can download a third party application that tricks your device into thinking it is running Wi-Fi when actually using 3G thus, giving you the ability to make FaceTime calls while using 3G. I personally, have used FaceTime on an iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4th Generation, MacBook Pro and the new i7 iMac. Over Wi-Fi on all of these applications I have been very pleased with the overall high quality. I was surprisingly satisfied with the quality when making calls on a jailbroken iPhone 4 using 3G. There is one feature I would like to see added to FaceTime the ability to leave a video message. Currently, when you call someone on FaceTime and they do not pick up it eventually just hangs up. It does tell that user that they missed a FaceTime call but it would be nice to leave them a short message if they are unable to receive the call.
In conclusion, I am very happy to see these large companies updating their applications to include video support. Tango and Fring are great apps however; they do not have the large user base that Skype, Yahoo! and Apple have. Overall, FaceTime is my personal favorite video chat app but not being able to be compatible with Android and Windows limits its usage. The best part of these five applications is their price, FREE.