Mobile video calling is not an entirely new concept. However the launch of FaceTime on iPhone 4 has rejuvenated this emerging market and now we are getting to see a lot of activity in this space.
While Apple rivals like Google are rumored to be working on their own mobile video calling apps, third party developers too have been launching their own applications.
One such application that launched last week is Tango; a cross-platform software developed by a Palo Alto based startup by the same name. The application presently works on iOS as well as Android platforms. Unlike FaceTime, Tango can be used to communicate with friends who do not own an iPhone 4 or iPod Touch 4G.
Tango also comes with a number of other advantages over FaceTime. The application can work over Wi-Fi as well as 3G and also works over phones that do not come with a front-facing camera. This would effectively make it possible for users of iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G to engage in a video chat as well though these users may not be able to relay video from their end. It is also worth noting that Tango lets users toggle the relay between the front-facing and rear-facing cameras and hence users may also point out to other objects using their rear camera while they are engaged in a mobile video conversation just like FaceTime.
According to Walt Mossberg from the Wall Street Journal, one of the most powerful aspects about the Tango app is its easy-to-use interface. The application does not require the user to fill out lengthy profile forms like Fring and only requires the users' phone number and email address for registration. Also, the application periodically scans the users' address book for information on other contacts who have installed the app on their mobile phone. These details are automatically added to the Tango address book for easy access. The company however notes that these contact details are entirely secure since they are stored locally and not on the company's servers.
While this is definitely a must-have app for those of you looking to video chat with your friends, do note that the app leaves a lot to be desired as of now. Mossberg points out that the video quality is pretty unreliable at times though it does appear to work well over Wi-Fi networks on most counts. Despite this, it may be noted that the application currently supports over 25 different handsets and is hence pretty useful.
You can checkout the video demo of the iPhone app given by Eric Setton, co-founder and CTO of Tango:
Tango app for iPhone (iTunes Link) is free to download. Do check the application out and let us know your views in the comments below.