Google Brings Video Chat to Android Devices


After nearly 16 months, my Google Nexus One, is finally out-of-date. That’s by far a record for me keeping one single phone but it’s time for an upgrade, because Google just announced video chat capabilities in Android 2.3.4, which is now rolling out to Nexus S handsets and will follow on other devices later. I’ve been getting by with just a single-core CPU and the 800×480 display of the Nexus One, but without a front-facing video camera, there’s no video chat in sight for me.

Google says the video chat feature works with Google Talk and can be used on either Wi-Fi or mobile broadband networks if your phone carrier allows it. Just like the video calling feature in the desktop version of Google Talk, a camera icon appears next to online contacts who can video chat. Tap the camera, and the video call begins. The only downside I can think of is that folks with multiple Google Talk accounts will be frustrated, as Android devices support only a single account for Google Talk.


I have to wonder if competing video chat services got wind of this development before it happened, because there’s been a recent flurry of mobile video communications activity. Last month, Vtok delivered a video chat product to iOS devices  that leverages Google Talk and said it intends to target Android next. Fring recently delivered four-way video chat between iOS and Android, and Qik just launched its cross-platform video calling software this week too.

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