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Hands-On: Video chat on Sprint HTC EVO 4G using Qik and Fring

Video chat is slated to be the next killer app for mobile. We put two of the top contenders to the test using Sprint's new HTC EVO.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that featured a video test using Fring that Qik's software was not yet available on the HTC EVO. Well, today Matt Miller let me know that it was finally released again, so we fired it up on two HTC EVO devices and gave it a test run.

After many failed attempts, which included random crashes, hanging, audio and no video, and just about every other combination you can think of, we managed to squeak out some test calls. Included in our testing were WiFi to WiFi, WiFi to 3G, and 3G to 3G. As expected, WiFi to WiFi worked best, though even that was touch and go depending on how many times you wanted to try to connect. Unfortunately, neither of us were in a 4G area at the time of testing, but we'll be testing again in the coming days.

In our tests the WiFi to WiFi was really the only true option, with noticeable lag, but for most people, it would be more than adequate for making video calls.

You'll see in the video below that I had my HTC EVO sitting on my desk using the built-in kickstand. We also demo'd switching to using the back camera on-the-fly.

As for other video chat options, yesterday we put Fring to the test but didn't shoot a video. So, today we fired up Fring again and this time shot a video of the app in action. For some reason this particular instance of Fring had a tremendous amount of audio feedback, though we think if we had connected headphones it would have disappeared.

Even with the aforementioned audio feedback, you can see in the video below that the video quality does have drop out occasionally, but for the average it would be more than adequate with a solid, sustained framerate.

It's clear that Qik has more work to do on the app, and that Fring could use some better buffering. That said, the fact that Apple just announced its own video chat software (FaceTime) and that it requires WiFi connectivity, means that once Qik and Fring get their bugs worked out, they'll both be way ahead of the curve.

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