With a whole plethora of free applications available for video calling on smartphones, we users are spoilt for choice. While most apps currently allow video calling over 3G and Wi-Fi for multi-platform users, it’s the extra features that set these applications apart. Let’s take a look at few of the currently available video chat apps, for both Android and IOS
The most popular video chat application currently, Skype allows free video calls between Skype users via both 3G and Wi-Fi. Post registration, Skype allows users on Android and iOS devices, MAC and Windows PC to make video calls to each other. Call quality is impressive, however, Skype currently allows video calling on extremely limited handsets.
Fring allows free video calls via 3G and Wi-Fi between users from different networks (MSN, ICQ, Google Talk, AIM and Yahoo!). It requires registration to the Fring server and allows syncing of contacts from the networks mentioned above. What sets it apart from the rest of the applications, though, is support for a four-way group video chat.
Another up and coming video chat service, Tango, is the ‘Whatsapp’ of video calling. Besides the usual video calling over 3G and Wi-Fi, the tango app seamlessly integrates into your phonebook and updates your contact list based on the people who have installed the app. The only downer for this app is that it is not as popular as some of the other apps for Android and iOS currently available.
Qik, like the other apps, supports video calling over 3G and Wi-Fi. In addition to that, it allows video recording and uploading too. An interesting feature that Qik supports is video sharing for select circles. So, your colleagues will not have access to the videos you uploaded for your friends to view. Qik also supports live uploading, which means that if the user has Internet access, any video recording gets uploaded simultaneously in real time.
Vtok is a surprisingly small application that allows video calls for Gmail users over both 3G and Wi-Fi. What sets it apart from the rest of the apps is that users do not need an account to sign up, they simply need to log-in with their Gmail account. Another feature is the option to choose between the front and the back camera on the device. The back camera option might just beat the whole purpose of video chatting; however, it could be helpful for users who want to try video calling features, despite their phones lacking a front camera.
Another video calling app that deserves recognition is ooVoo. It currently supports three-way video calling with HD video capability at 720p. 720p video calling is definitely work in progress with the current data rates. However, connection via Wi-Fi easily translates into superior call quality. Another feature is recording and sending video messages to friends or email addresses. Users can also send files up to 5MB in the free version.
Honourable Mention: Facetime
Facetime, as we all know, is an iOS exclusive application that allows video calling between iOS users. It allows video calling through both, the front and the back cameras. The application has the best call quality out of the lot, however, it is usable via Wi-Fi only.
All the apps currently support video, voice and text chatting between phones and desktops. Naturally for any video calling app, the best option is connection via Wi-Fi, due to better data rates and minimalistic fluctuations. Wi-Fi to 3G works decent, with the worst option being video calling over the 3G services currently available in India. What we would love to see in the near future is Google integrating the Google Chat Video Calling service in Android Phones, as well as the Facebook+Skype app for phones. Also, WhatsApp could give their chat service a major boost by introducing video calling among their users.
The above mentioned apps are just a few of the many available options. Do feel free to list your favourites amongst these or any other options you would like to share.