Hard to believe it’s been a year since Windows Phone 7 was launched in the US. Microsoft’s partners certainly haven’t been releasing new devices at an Android-like pace, but there are several new devices launching with Mango on both AT&T and T-Mobile. In addition to all of the new features that Mango brings to existing hardware there are some additional upgrades you will only notice if using one of these newly launched devices. One of the most welcome upgrades is support for front-facing cameras. We have to admit that we are rather surprised that the first video-calling app for Windows Phone isn’t Skype, but Tango for Windows Phone definitely brings some attractive functionality to the platform.
Skype video conferencing on the PC has been the reality for a while now, and their recent expansion into mobile devices has helped turned the software client into a household name. With few places left to expand it should be no surprise that the VOIP solution is coming to the living room, but this time you’ll find it packed into upcoming Sony Blu-Ray players.
At the Sony CES booth in Las Vegas they were showing demos of the interface which requires not just the player, but a separate proprietary camera accessory. Video quality will be limited to SD resolution at launch, and according to Sony representatives they have no plans at the current time to make the leap to HD.
With Video calling being a built in feature of Kinect, I’m a bit surprised Sony hasn’t tried to make this happen first on the PS3 first. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see if they end up changing their mind, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
There's quite a spat brewing between Fring and Skype over just who should be offering people free video calls over 3G. Fring made quite the bit of news last week when they released an updated app for the iPhone that allowed video calls over 3G using the Skype protocol, as well as its own standard. The calls could be placed to computers, Android phones, iPhones, and Symbian phones. Shortly after release, Fring turned off Skype due to what they claimed was excessive traffic. Now they are saying that Skype actually forced them to stop using the Skype system by blocking them, and sending some nasty legal threats over.
Skype said in a blog post that, " Fring’s mis-use of our software was increasingly damaging our brand and reputation with our customers." They go on to say that they did not block Fring from working, but have been talking to the startup about the situation. Skype contends that Fring is violating the Skype EULA.
Fring's corresponding blog post is a bit more aggressive, calling Skype "cowards" for blocking their app. This is probably going to take some time to work out, so grab some popcorn and get ready for the next round of accusations.
The new iPhone 4 has a new video chat feature called FaceTime. As buyers of the new phone have learned with some dismay, there really aren't that many people to they can video chat with. The fature is only for iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 calling. Luckily Apple has worked out a solution so you can try out the feature. Just call 1-888-FACETIME anytime from 8am to 8pm CDT, and you can chat with a random Apple rep over FaceTime.
The rep will apparently give you a rundown of features and answer any questions you have about FaceTime. While this is a little weird, it's probably a good way to show off the feature which most consumers won't have a change to use until more of their acquaintances have the phone. Keep in mind that you have to be connected to Wi-Fi for this to work; another limitation of the FaceTime feature. We're not sold on the usefulness of video calls, but now we can all find out if it will catch on.
As a consequence of having a really stellar launch, the HTC EVO 4G cause a little havoc for video chat service Qik. The fine folks at Qik are partnering with Sprint to offer video calling on the EVO. Little did they know EVO users would bombard their servers with roughly 20 times the usual traffic. As you can imagine, the servers went down in a big way.
The situation got so bad that the app had to be pulled from the Android Market. Qik promised the app would be back up soon. However, users that managed to get the app before it was removed are still being met with connection failures and overall poor quality of service. Luckily, the EVO is able to use other apps for video including Fring for Android.
We hope they've got a rainy day fund to buy more servers. EVOs aren't likely to stop selling any time soon. Are there any EVO users out there that have had trouble finding or using Qik?
It’s the Holiday season, and that means a lot of time catching up with relatives on the phone or in person. You can make those long-distance calls a lot more personal though, by setting up your living room TV to act as a video phone.
And really, setting up a video chat session on your living room PC isn’t all that hard. We’ll show you how you can get started video chatting with just three simple steps: Finding the right connector, setting up a webcam, and installing video chat software.
We’ll warn you ahead of time: this guide is written to be a little more newbie-friendly then our usual how-tos here at MaximumPC. Now, we’re not forgetting our power-user fans, but we wanted to make this guide something you can send to your parents and other relatives, so that they can get in touch for the holidays.