Yahoo Gets Into Mobile Video Chat Game

9 Comments

 

Yahoo (s yhoo) plans to bring its popular Yahoo Messenger client to iPhone and Android phones, enabling FaceTime-like video chat conversations across multiple platforms, both mobile and PC. David Katz, Yahoo’s VP of Mobile for the Americas region, shared the news with Reuters, saying the apps are on their way soon to the iPhone (s aapl) and Android (s goog) platforms, pending approval. The apps, which would operate on both 3G and Wi-Fi, would take advantage of new forward-facing cameras on devices like the iPhone 4, HTC EVO and Epic and the upcoming myTouch from T-Mobile.

The competition among mobile video chat providers is heating up. We just wrote about Tango, the latest mobile video chat client that tries to compete against Apple’s FaceTime, Fring and Qik. But a Yahoo Messenger client would offer the prospect of conducting video calls not only between mobile phones but also between mobile and PC-bound users. Yahoo reportedly has 81 million Yahoo Messenger users worldwide.

FaceTime has proven to be a popular feature of the iPhone 4 and a major marketing point for the device. However, the service only works between iPhone 4 — and now iPod touch — devices, and only over Wi-Fi. Tango and Fring have worked to reduce some of those limitations by enabling 3G and cross-platform interoperability, and it seems like users are excited about the prospect of more video chat capabilities on their phone. Tango shot up to No. 3 in the App Store in the U.S. on the free social networking category shortly after launching late last month.

It’s still hard to match the overall ease of use that FaceTime provides, which enjoys the advantage of being built right into iOS. If done well, Yahoo Messenger could be a worthy alternative, because of its reach and the promise of communicating between phone and computer. And it will help Yahoo further position itself in mobile. Skype should also be in the market as well and it’s still surprising they don’t have a mobile video chat product available.

Hopefully, we’ll see the Yahoo apps shortly, although there’s no guarantee Apple is going to play along. The company hasn’t opened up FaceTime to 3G calls, perhaps for fear of overloading AT&T’s (s t) network. While Fring and Tango have been approved, allowing Yahoo video calls on AT&T’s network might give AT&T some pause.

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9 Comments

panic

the iphone already has its own video chat but youre just able to communicate with other iphone 4 users. 3d chat´s are spreading around the web like crazy and i think withe new tecnologies some awsome things will come up soon.

Tsahi Levent-Levi

Ryan,

While I am a believer of video calling, I have to question the actual success of FaceTime as a service (as a selling point in the US market it is huge). If it is that good, then why haven’t Apple published usage statistics for it when they launched their new iPod Touch? FaceTime had a few months on the market by then.
And as for the usability and simplicity of the service – you are correct – you can’t beat something that has been built right into the device.

Tsahi

S

This is great news. After this announcement Google & Skype cant be far behind. Probably spells end of Fring, Tango & Qik

Lucian Armasu

Google should implement this feature in Gingerbread, too. And you could use it to talk to people on Gtalk on a PC.

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