Fring 2-way video calling lets iPhone 4 chat with Android, Nokia

Fring has just updated their app to allow iPhone 4 users to chat with Android and Nokia/Symbian S60 users with the appropriate camera hardware. So while FaceTime remains easier and slicker if you're both on iPhone 4 on Wi-Fi, if you want to get some cross-platform chat on, this is your go-to option.

To test out the new Fring, Phil Nickinson from Android Central and I fired it up, Phil on his HTC Evo 4G and me on my iPhone 4. Hey, if Jobs and Schmidt can take coffee, I can talk to Phil, okay?

The quality wasn't bad considering he's in Florida on Sprint and I'm in Montreal on Wi-Fi. I did have a problem with the speaker volume, however. I couldn't get any real speaker phone action going on, which meant I couldn't hear Phil unless I put the iPhone to my ear -- thereby destroying the whole point of a video call.

That might have been me not knowing which button to tap or setting to swipe, but we're looking for an answer and will update when we get on. Apple made FaceTime's underlying protocols open, so maybe we'll see a future update employing those as well?

If you want to see Phil's side of the call, head on over to AC.

So now that we live in a world where iPhone's and Androids can talk together, who's going to give it a try?

[iTunes link]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 35 comments. Add yours.

Dan says:

I will never talk to a fandroid!
Jk
Nice start for the open development of the camera.

tweger01 says:

Rene, please please please look at the camera when you're doing these video blogs. It's so distracting to watch you watch yourself on the monitor.
And please don't block me again, last time I said this a few months back and you blocked my account from posting. I'm just trying to help you out

Rene Ritchie says:
  1. I'll try.
  2. We never blocked you. You might have tripped a spam filter. If that ever happens, just shoot me an email and I'll personally go find your comments and make sure they appear.
  3. Our integrity is really important to us, please have the courtesy of checking first before accusing us of being evily evil, k? :p
DDay says:

My brother has the Evo 4G, so I'll be using this feature a lot. Happy to see the next update.

Steve says:

I've been testing it with a co-worker who has an Evo and it works 100% of the time 30% of the time. I think the iOS version is more stable because he kept having problems with Fring saying he was offline and mine always said it was online. Does anyone know if Fring is always on in the background?

Steve says:

^---- Also, we noticed that the image coming from his Evo was a mirror image and the video from my iphone was not reversed.

mrNotiq says:

The way you do a video call with no speakerphone is to plug in that good ole iPhone headset! ;D

mrNotiq says:

...that should be "by plugging in" .... grammar ;D

Coreymol says:

I tried to call myself on skype when I got this update to try it out right away. I keep getting error messages. I am not sure if it is not allowing skype to use it or what. Any thoughts? Also some one mentioned the online vs. Off line. I keep seeing me as offline on fring for a very long time then all of a sudden I am online.

Phil James says:

Can you use this to iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 video chat?
-Phil
.

mrNotiq says:

Plus, u have to press the speaker button in the top right hand corner to turn the speaker on Rene...as I've just learned using the test-call feature. It's a little buggy, because the speaker actually being on doesn't seem go with the same speaker button color every time from my short experience. But just fiddle with that button.

Lee says:

How do you even do an accurate video test when the reviewer in the video DON'T even know what he is doing?
The entire time he just STARES at the phone trying to "figure" out what to press on the phone. He doesn't even explain at all of what button is which on the phone's screen during the video test call, and didn't even know the speaker phone wasn't working until the very end.
A tip for the reviewer in the video: TEST the product yourself at least once BEFORE video tape yourself testing it.
P.S. I totally agree what tweger01 in the 2nd comment; it is very distracting to see the reviewer stares at the phone for the entire video test.

jwriherd says:

Renee is that bleach in your hair? Really?

(Copy of) Dev says:

I have not tried it, but it is fantastic news that Apple did not ban it for encroaching on FaceTime, but rather approved it pretty quickly. It is also good news that (so far) carriers have not straightjacketed it.
Hopefully skype will shortly follow suit, and Have an equally smooth trip through Appke's queue.

Rene Ritchie says:

@Mr notiq - I hit the speaker button repeatedly, on the test call it worked fine, when I called Phil and when I did another real-world call with an Android user in the UK, it didn't activate the speaker phone but rather toggled between mute and earpiece speaker.
@Dev - Given how long it took Skype to do 3G, I'm hopeful but not holding my breath.
@Jimi - No, I earned this gray hair dealing with courtesy challenged commenters :p

Jose says:

I tried it calling my buddy in fresno( he has an evo) an i in tucson on my iphone but the sound suxs, they need a quick update to fix that. But ither than that it will be cool to talk to some buddys that dont have an iphone4

jwriherd says:

@Renee my bad no disrespect my laptop sucks couldn't tell it was gray :) Love the blog waiting for friends to dl Fring to see if I have the same speaker issue.

GraysonIP says:

Rene, you do a great job on the site.

Bucketofried says:

Renee I agree with Grayson

Think Different says:

I want this on the Skype App :)

(Copy of) Dev says:

@Rene
I'm not hopeful either, but this at least suggests Apple may not stand in Skype's way, if and when they get to it, and that was a big question in everybody's mind. So we can say from this news that the glass is 48% full, at least :)

excaliburca says:

Damn... looks like I'll have to pull down Fring again once iPhone 4 comes to Canada.

Eric says:

I downloaded the app to my Iphone 4 but I haven't been able to create an account. It keeps telling me the username is already in use and to pick from the suggestions. It doesn't list any suggestions and just kicks me back to the start screen. I've removed and re-installed like 5 times now. Anyone else having this issue?

Eric says:

Ok site must be back up now.. Its working!

BrianTufo says:

I was able to use it to call my wife on Skype on her computer! this is AWESOME as she doesnt have an iPhone 4 and I'm in the military so I get deployed at times. This is an amazing feature!!!

BrianTufo says:

@Eric it did the same to me as well. I tried like 5 different names and it kept saying its taken. Then i got 5 emails welcoming all of my usernames to fring lol.

iphonemilk says:

@Rene
Love you man!1 HAHAHAHA . awesome. ;p

phat7deuce says:

@Brian We're you able to video call your wife via Skype on her computer?
@Rene You take a lot of s@&$ on this site and you do a pretty good job. People don't watch FoxNews here in the states because they want a totally unbiased report, they like their news with a conservative slant. Here, I wouldn't expect anything other than an Apple slant. Articles are good, I read Tipb everyday.
@ Rene Haters If you don't like the site or the slant go somewhere else. The "Rene hating" is tired and at this point unoriginal. It's like Lady Gaga at ANY event. If you disagree, great, that's cool...but the hating and the copycat-piling-on-hating has been done...

Sterbuck says:

@ Phat7deuce do you have man crush on Renee? ....I know I do!!! Keep up the great work Renee.

Aki says:

Yes mate my skype option disappeared too? Apple security approval again? fring sort it (another update? Hehe) I've tried reinstalling it still nothing

Darkstar says:

I don't see any options for Skype at all, other than the Skype Out on the dialer.

Trickyd80 says:

I was able to make a video skype call from my phone to my wifes computer last nite, it was a bit laggy, but I don't even c my skype option n the add on section anymore, but I can still c my skype contacts

mace says:

i dont talk to people who don't own iphones...