In ye olden days of Android, a video-sharing service by the name of Qik attracted millions of users. It grew rapidly enough to catch Skype's eye, and the larger video-based serviced acquired the smaller for a cool $150 million. It eventually shuttered the offering, and now it's bringing it back in the form of a peculiar new video messaging app.
Skype Qik draws inspiration from a number of different apps.
So, you bought that fancy new Nexus S/DROID Charge/Galaxy S II/G2X/Flyer with a front-facing camera, and you were excited to make video calls. Then you noticed there isn't any native video chat client for Android (yet - Talk will have this integrated soon). Then you heard about fring, which is pretty cool. Then you tried to install it, only to discover it didn't work. Then you probably had a sad.
While browsing some new arrivals this afternoon, I noticed that Qik, one of the large players in the mobile video chat business, today released an app called Qik for Samsung, clearly targeted at users of Samsung Android devices. Qik has been releasing apps customized to certain classes of devices, or even individual ones, for as long as I can remember, starting with the EVO 4G last year, so seeing yet another variant doesn't surprise me (see Qik for Sprint, Qik for T-Mobile, and Qik for Atrix).
As much as I love Android, I do have friends and family that are dedicated iPhone users. There has always been a barrier between the two platforms, but that is slowly changing with things like cross-platform games and now, thanks to Qik Video Connect, video chat.
Aside from being cross-platform, Qik Video Connect offers several other nice features, like video mail. If you can't connect live with someone and you just have to show them something, then video mail is the only way to go, right?
Word around the web is that Skype is in the process of purchasing Qik for a cool $150 million. While not expected, the deal isn't exactly surprising, either: Skype is already a major player in the internet phone business, and in 2010, Qik substantially expanded its presence in mobile video calling and streaming. In fact, 2010 was huge for Qik: they expanded their customer base from 600,000 to 5 million users - roughly an eight-fold increase.
With the release of the EVO 4G on Friday, a lot of people were looking forward to using the front facing camera for two-way video chat. This was made possible thanks to Qik, a video sharing application on Android amongst other platforms. Unfortunately, the ride wasn’t as smooth as Sprint and Qik would have hoped it to be…
The few lucky people who attended Google I/O were each given an EVO 4G, only to find that they couldn’t use the two-way video chat, as Qik wanted to wait until the official launch date to update the software.
Update, May 29th, 7PM CST: Qik have updated their company blog and have cleared up the situation. Basically, the core Qik experience, meaning streaming from your EVO 4G to Qik, and the 2-way video chat will be FREE. Apparently, the subscription charge will be for “some advanced premium features” that they are working on. They’ll have an announcement on June 4th with additional details on these features.
By now, we have all heard the news: Sprint announced yesterday the HTC EVO 4G will be available June 4th. Among a number of touted features, its two-way video chat capabilities are unrivaled.
With two cameras, one on either side of the phone, this device opens up new possibilities. You can take snapshots or video while watching the results in realtime, or you can turn the camera on yourself...without turning the phone around.