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Video calling apps for the HTC EVO 4G

Shawn Morton tells you how to make video calls with Qik and fring, two Android apps that allow you to take advantage of the EVO 4G's front-facing camera.

As a kid, I watched a lot of TV. On shows like The Jetsons or Star Trek, one thing that was always shown to represent the "future" was video calling. Being able to instantly dial up someone for a video call seemed so cool and impossible at the time.

Now, fast forward a couple of decades, corporate video conferences and video calling features in desktop apps like Skype have become sort of commonplace. The final frontier for video calling was the mobile handset.

On June 4, 2010, Sprint released the EVO 4G in the United States. It is the first Android handset to feature a front-facing camera (in addition to the standard rear-facing one), which makes it perfect for video calling.

Currently, there are two Android apps, Qik and fring, that allow you to take advantage of the EVO's front-facing camera.

Qik for EVO 4G

I am a long-time user of Qik. They were among the first video services that allowed you to stream live video from your mobile handset. So, if you were at your son's soccer game, you could stream that live to friends and family over the web.

For the EVO 4G launch, Qik teamed up with Sprint to create a version of its app specifically for video calling. The app comes in two flavors: a free version and a premium version with advanced features for a $4.99 monthly fee.

There are four main functions in Qik: video chat, record, messages, and my videos. For the purposes of this article, we will focus only on video chat, which is available in the free and the premium version of Qik; the premium version gives you options to use higher resolutions during video calls.

To make a video call with Qik:

  1. Fire up the Qik app on your EVO 4G.
  2. Select the Video Chat button (Figure A).
  3. Select another Qik user from your Contacts list or from your Call History.
  4. Wait for the other party to accept the call.

Figure A

Qik for EVO 4G

Clicking the Video Chat button at the top of the screen starts the video call.
Overall, the video quality has been about what I expected over a 3G connection. It's definitely not broadcast quality video, but it is completely usable for a video call.  I found that quick pans of the camera resulted in pixelation of the image, but if you stick to talking head-style video, it works OK (Figure B). Figure B

Talking to myself in Qik

Talking to myself with Qik.

You can download Qik for EVO 4G in the Android Market.

Fring

Fring was able to launch before the EVO 4G and claim the title of world's first Android video calling app. Unlike Qik for EVO 4G, fring is available on multiple mobile platforms including iPhone. Other than that, fring is very similar to Qik as far as video calling goes.

To make a video call with fring:

  1. Fire up the fring app on your EVO 4G.
  2. Select a contact from your Contacts list.
  3. Click the video camera icon to initiate the call (Figure C).
  4. Wait for the other party to accept the call.

Figure C

Fring on EVO 4G

Clicking the video camera icon on the lower right of the screen starts the video call.
I have found the video quality with fring (Figure D) to be much better than with Qik -- part of this is due to the smaller video window that fring uses. Also, Qik's servers have been getting hammered with traffic since the EVO 4G launch, so we may see better video quality once they get things more stable. Figure D

Fring on the EVO 4G

Doing a test call with fring.

You can download fring from the Android Market for free using the QR code shortcut below:

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14 comments
hitesh050797
hitesh050797

i am new to this web site i want to video chat with someone but i dont have phone with those capabilites i have web cam

wildchild09
wildchild09

I want to video chat with my fiance but I don't have a phone with those capabilities. But I do have a webcam, is there any way to chat mobile to webcam??

TheLopezTeam.ACNRep.com
TheLopezTeam.ACNRep.com

Hi! What app would you suggest to make calls to the ACN Video phone Iris V ? Please let me know. I would greatly apprciate your response. Thanks

semcrae
semcrae

Do you have to be connected via WiFi in order for the video calling to work?

jameslabocki
jameslabocki

No more video chat on fring, they blocked it - and qik only works from phone to phone, not phone to pc/mac. This forward facing camera isn't getting much use by me. I'm the only person with qik that I know!

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Think I used it about twice. And yes I had many friends who had the capability to video call as we were all on the same 3 network in the UK. It was pointless and added nothing to the call. I mean who wants an unexpected video call?

Daniel Breslauer
Daniel Breslauer

You call yourself an expert on mobile devices and write: "It is the first mobile handset to feature a front-facing camera (in addition to the standard rear-facing one), which makes it perfect for video calling." Oh, I see - and what's that camera on the front of my Nokia E72? Oh, didn't its predecessor, the E71, have that front-facing camera as well? What world have you been living in?

Daniel Breslauer
Daniel Breslauer

Personally I couldn't care less. I barely ever use video on Skype on my laptops - let alone would I use video calling on my phone.

ShawnMorton
ShawnMorton

Sorry, I meant to say "first Android handset." As you point out, there have definitely been other devices with front-facing cameras. Have updated the article to be more clear. Thanks for your comment.

Daniel Breslauer
Daniel Breslauer

An iPhone would be so awesome - it would really outdo my Nokia E72! * I guess, since the Nokia E72 can function as a modem through USB or Bluetooth (and, using JoikuSpot, as a WiFi 'router'), surely the iPhone can do this via telepathy. * Since my Nokia E72 has a battery that gets me through 2 days with real usage without any problems, I'm sure the iPhone can get me through a lot more - like, a couple of hours of Bluetooth tethering, a couple of hours of GPS navigation, and an hour or 2 on the phone, and continuous 3G connectivity? Surely the iPhone outdoes that! * I guess the iPhone's camera is really SO much better - it certainly gives me more than 5 MP! Anyone referring to the iPhone or Android as serious options for mobile PROFESSIONALS (not teenagers who watch YouTube clips) has never held a Nokia in their hands. PS. Everywhere where it says 'iPhone' one may also write 'Android' and obtain 99% the same answers.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Besides your rudeness to the OP was way off. PS: You ever used an HTC device?

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