While we’re still waiting for video chat to take off in a substantial now-we’re-living-in-the-future kind of way, there’s no denying that it’s now easier than ever to reach out and talk to someone face-to-face with your smartphone. Front-facing cameras are more and more common, and an increasing number of software packages attempt to be the killer app that will bring video calling to the masses. Could it be Skype? Fring? Google Talk? Qik is now looking increasingly competitive, releasing a free Android version of its app to offer video chat between Android and iPhone users.
Android users who wanted Qik earlier either had to have it pre-installed on smartphones like the MyTouch 4G or HTC Evo 4G, or download a limited-functionality version from the Android Market which lacked live video chat features. Now it’s open for all as Qik Video Connect, letting most phones running Eclair or later get in on the video chat action. Like Skype and Fring, you can call between users of disparate smartphone platforms, but without all the restrictions the leaked Thunderbolt Skype app imposes.
Depending on your phone’s processing power, and if you have a fast-enough WiFi connection, Qik can let you video chat at a full VGA resolution. Right now Galaxy S models support this function. If your buddies aren’t online for a video chat, you can always leave a video message for them to retrieve later, but this feature is only free through the beginning of June, later becoming a paid extra.
You can check out Qik Video Connect for free in the Android Market. The iOS version, normally three bucks, is also a free download for the next few days.