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

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

Summary: 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.

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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.

Topics: Mobility, Networking, Telcos, Wi-Fi

Joel Evans

About Joel Evans

With more than 15 years of mobile, Internet and wireless experience, Joel specializes in taking existing brands and technologies into the mobile and wireless space. Joel is currently the VP of Strategy Integration for Mobiquity, an enterprise-class mobile solutions provider.

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25 comments
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  • android is for apple hating geeks

    "After many failed attempts, which included random crashes, hanging, audio and no video" vs. one push of a button with facetime on iphone 4.

    hey apple haters here on zdnet, what do you like more? oh wait, i know the answer: option one ;-)
    banned from zdnet
    • RE: Hands-On: Video chat on Sprint HTC EVO 4G using Qik and Fring

      I am an apple iPhone user for last 3 years .... about the facetime app it has the limitation of iphone 4 to iphone 4. By the time this limitation ois removed, other apps will sure improve on quality
      srikanthreddys
      • Other apps

        @srikanthreddys sez, ??other apps will sure improve on quality??

        I'm sure you're right. But given that Apple has released their spec for public use, more likely that outfits like Qik and Fring will find they can't live on THEIR own little island, and the world will gravitate to something more like the Apple spec.
        WaltFrench
      • RE: Hands-On: Video chat on Sprint HTC EVO 4G using Qik and Fring

        @srikanthreddys Hmmm, the HTC WinMo phones have been doing single button Video calling for the last 3 years or so. And the interface works with other brands that do video calling (Mokia, Blackberry, Samsung, Motorola etc). No need to setup. Doesn't use Wifi even.

        @WaltFrench Uhhh, I'm pretty sure that Fring added Skype Video to their software. That is hardly their own little island.
        RogerDaryl
    • Apple-hating Geeks

      @banned from zdnet Let's see: I got my first Apple computer, an Apple II, and have had one ever since. I'm typing to you now on my iMac, purchased within this year. And I'll looking at my EVO right now. Why? 1) Apple is sleeping with the enemy in their ties with AT&T. 2) AT&T is not to be trusted, as proven by their rate change on the iPad, and 3) what used to be a legit practice of Apple, to ensure consistency of the GUI with apps (Q is Quit, W is window, etc.) has become an overbearing control thing aimed instead at profit. (See also iTunes, et al, if you're still uncertain.) Meanwhile, Android is open enough that even when the carrier won't "let" you tether it, some "geek" (for whom I am eternally grateful) has already written an app that does do so, and they don't need Apple's holy permission to do so.

      So am I an Apple-hating geek, or a smart consumer? We'll see. I've only had the EVO for a day and a half. If it still can't be made to work out the bugs, I'll switch back to the Incredible, at additional monthly expense. IT worked flawlessly out of the box (but had poor battery life, and no mobile hotspot abilities.)

      There may be a few bugs to work out, but in the end, the EVO can be a lot more than the iPhone-- simply because, in Android, the maker has let loose the reins. So I blame Apple for that I don't have an iPad or an iPhone... and you might want to reconsider your generalizations too.
      SpectreWriter
      • RE: Hands-On: Video chat on Sprint HTC EVO 4G using Qik and Fring

        @SpectreWriter I think you are not apple hating and, from your perspective, you are a smart consumer. But I think you are a geek (me too, that is not an insult) and your perspective is not representative of the majority. It's by understanding the non-geek perspective that apple has become successful, as has Nintendo. Think of the success of consoles, these are closed systems (far MORE closed than apples idevices) yet people buy them by the million. Openness is not relevant to a lot of (most) people
        The Star King
      • Writer, are loose reins a positive situation?

        I would argue that Google's hands off stance is the weakest link in the whole Android phone package. All the crashing and weirdness would not be happening if Google had some kind of controls in place that ensure a certain level of quality and usability. Is this loose approach really benefitting the average consumer or just placating developer types and pseudo geeks?
        CowLauncher
    • RE: Hands-On: Video chat on Sprint HTC EVO 4G using Qik and Fring

      @banned from zdnet I think this illustrates Apple's philosophy versus Android's and the difference is stark. Android says: let users have choice. Even if a feature does not work perfectly or needs a lot of technical knowledge to operate, it's still permitted. Apple says: Give the user a good experience, remove all functions that don't work perfectly out of the box. Sure, Apple could have made video calling available on 3G but they chose not to do so because the know it wouldn't work well enough. Same reason they ban Flash and didn't support multitasking till recently. They don't want anything that works only so-so and degrades the user experience. They'd rather remove a feature entirely then let it work badly, or work only sometimes.
      The Star King
  • RE: Hands-On: Video chat on Sprint HTC EVO 4G using Qik and Fring

    I am using Apple iPhone for 3 years now. Used the first iPhone and then the 3G. When it comes to face time app, I can tell that for now the biggest limitation is iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 (offcourse WiFi is other). By the time this limitation is removed, apps like Qik and Fring should be working good. As of now I am not upgrading becaz iPhone 4 is not worth with the AT&T network. Retina Display and Camera are the good improvements but rest aren't that impressive. Competition will follow. When it comes to Qik and Fring they are on the right track and will be a good competition to Face time.
    srikanthreddys
    • competition

      @srikanthreddys
      there is one little difference though, the fundamental difference between apple's approach (no setup, one touch, it just works) and the featuritis of the copycats (that works only when you are a geek and happy to tweak the soft- and hardware for hours until it finally sort of works and then only bad).

      how many times would a normal user have tried to start qip on that evo after it crashes and crashes and doesn't connect? how many times would they have tried it again? it can tell you, maybe once, surely not twice, after that this empty bullet point on a feature list would have never been touched again.
      banned from zdnet
      • RE: Hands-On: Video chat on Sprint HTC EVO 4G using Qik and Fring

        @banned from zdnet

        Copycats? Do you realize that the HTC Evo released BEFORE the iPhone 4?
        ajones7279
      • Qik and Fring are Apps ajones7279...

        And they all work on all versions of iPhones...

        So it doesn't matter that your precious hunk of junk HTC Evo was released before the iPhone 4... The HTC Evo still spat and stuttered, burped and farted, crashed and glitched when trying to video chat with Apps that work fine on a 1st gen iPhone...

        So go cry to your mom about how much you hate Apple and how much it sucks that they make devices that people actually love.
        i8thecat
      • RE: Hands-On: Video chat on Sprint HTC EVO 4G using Qik and Fring

        @banned from zdnet

        I have a feeling the iPhone 4 people will be tossing theirs into the dumpster after they try repeatedly to use WiFi (public, no doubt) for video conferencing. Did you see Jobs' face when he tried to get the audience to shut off their MiFi's? Classic.

        John Stewart was right, Steven Jobs has become "The Man" he always despised.
        EHasselmann
  • RE: Hands-On: Video chat on Sprint HTC EVO 4G using Qik and Fring

    No 1: Nokia
    No 2: RIM
    No 3: Apple
    No 4: HTC
    No 5: Motorola

    http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS22333410

    Whether Android or iphone fanboys like it or not, the data does not lie. As painful as it is to admit, Nokia is still the market leader.
    kshorty1
    • ??Nokia is still the market leader?

      @kshorty1 made the genius observation that Nokia sells a lot of phones. Any of them do videocalling, or is that irrelevant to a comparison of videocalling?
      WaltFrench
      • RE: Hands-On: Video chat on Sprint HTC EVO 4G using Qik and Fring

        @WaltFrench@...
        Yes, for ages now really. And what's more is you can call other brands that have Video calling.

        November 2006 Nokia releases 3G phone with Video Calling: http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/nokia-launches-3g-phone-capable-of-video-calling-20060921/

        Nokia phones with Video calling:
        5800
        E72
        6700
        3710
        6710
        N95
        E51
        E52
        N86
        E75
        6288
        5730
        E66
        E55
        N79
        N85
        6730
        6210
        6260
        5302
        N82
        5630
        6500
        N93i
        N78
        N81
        5610 Music Xpress
        ( source: http://www.myshopping.com.au/PT--31_Mobile_Phones_Nokia_Video_Call__fs_102_12670_e__ )
        RogerDaryl
    • Not Really

      @kshorty1 "<br>Whether Android or iphone fanboys like it or not, the data does not lie. As painful as it is to admit, Nokia is still the market leader."<br><br>If you had been to Japan in the past 5 years, you would have seen it there before there was a whyPhoney.<br><br>Apple, MS, Nokia and Android all rip off each other. Each calls it innovation. Get over it.
      brianpeterson@...
  • RE: Hands-On: Video chat on Sprint HTC EVO 4G using Qik and Fring

    I left Verizon and their wannabes to get an iPhone and to have AT&T. Neither has disappointed. I'm sure the iPhone 4 will not. Anyone who talks badly about Apple just doesn't understand the value of a forward-thinking, trend-setting, innovator like Steve Jobs and Apple. I don't want a wannabe. I want the real goods and Apple delivers.
    bandemann
  • RE: Hands-On: Video chat on Sprint HTC EVO 4G using Qik and Fring

    I can't help but wonder what would be said about iPhone if it took that many failed attempts to get an applicaiton working and then when it did finally work...it was very spotty at best.
    briwilk
  • RE: Hands-On: Video chat on Sprint HTC EVO 4G using Qik and Fring

    good lord, do these conversations ALWAYS have to devolve into armed camps of whichever phone? Can't we just discuss features and apps and what works well and what doesn't? I wish everyone would just stop with trying to justify their own phone choices with attacks on any other choices or options out there. What works for you may not work for me, and visa versa.
    Ellisonx