Online and mobile video chat provider ooVoo has just released a new app for the iPhone that offers multi-platform video chat for Apple devices. (s AAPL) By doing so, iPhone and iPod touch users now have one more way to launch multi-user video chat wherever they are.
The mobile video chat market is heating up, ever since Apple launched its FaceTime app with the introduction of the iPhone 4. Since then, a number of companies have sought to cash in on the phenomenon, including Skype, (s MSFT) Tango, Yahoo (s YHOO) and others. Like most of these video chat apps, ooVoo works on both 3G and Wi-Fi networks, and enables users to chat with friends on the web and on Android (s GOOG) mobile devices.
The big differentiator ooVoo has is the ability to do multi-user chat. The app allows up to six different video chat partners to be logged into a call at once, and it does so with pretty fantastic video quality, even on mobile networks. In that respect, it primarily competes with Fring, which launched a multi-party, multi-platform group video chat app in early April.
There’s one other crucial difference: ooVoo’s user base. The company has long had a video chat application available on the desktop, where it mostly competed with Skype. But while Skype is used by many enterprise users and web-savvy professionals, ooVoo is being adopted by a very young user base, a trend being accelerated with the launch of its Android app. I have two teenaged sisters, and anecdotal evidence from their usage of the app shows that ooVoo is pretty cool with youngsters.
In a phone interview a few weeks ago, ooVoo CMO Matt deGanon confirmed my suspicions that the app has become a popular way for teenagers to keep in touch. According to him, about 57 percent of all ooVoo users are under the age of 25, and the overwhelming majority of that group are under 18. Surprisingly though, those teenagers aren’t necessarily using the app to just speak with their friends; deGanon said young ooVoo users were using the app to connect on social networks and meet new people live.
ooVoo has more than 25 million registered users now, but the launch of the iPhone app will surely drive that much higher. After announcing availability of the iPhone app to its 1 million Facebook fans, it has seen registrations at about three times its usual level, and expects to hit a record for registrations today.