Mobile Video Calling Options

When it comes to mobile technology, especially video conferenceing capabilities, we haven't quite reached the realms of Star Wars technology; however, we have come a long way in a relatively short time.

Let's take a few minutes to compare the current front-runners in the World of Video Calling:

1) Skype

Skype is the undisputed video calling leader, and it recently teamed upw ith Microsoft with the hopes of incorporating Skype's Internet-based video and voice calling features into products like the XBox 360.

Much of Skype's service offerings are free, like one-to-one Skype voice and video calls (provided you and the person you're calling or receiving the call from both have an Internet connection). Group video chats, as well as Skype-to-Cell Phone (or Landline) are a part of the premium package, which is $8.99 per month.

Skype can be used on Internet-connected Macs or PCs, as well as most smarphones. It is not available on all Android smarphones, but it has been unlocked for some.

2) ooVoo

ooVoo has become one of Skype's largest competitors.  The biggest advantage to ooVoo is the ability to do a group video call with up to three participants.  ooVoo has a document sharing component, not unsimilar to Drop Box (or others that I've previously compared on this blog), and it allows participants to share their computer screen to the group.

The service is available on Macs and PCs, several Android phones, and they have released apps for the iPhone and iPad.

ooVoo is completely free.

3) Face Time

Face Time is Apple's platform-specific video calling solution that allows free video calls to be placed on the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPod Touch or any Apple computer to any other user with one of these devices. It works by accessing the user's address book to build a list of email addresses it knows are on the service.  The devices involved in a Face Time call must be connected to WiFi.

4) Google Video

Google's response to Apple's Face Time is Google Video, also known as Google Hangout.  Android users can video chat with up to 9 other Android users via a 'Hangout', for free.  Another fun feature is the ability to add moustaches, masks, hats, etc. to yourself (or others) for added comedy throughout the duration of the Hangout.

5) Tango

Tango is a platform-agnostic video chat option. Users of either Apple or Android devices can make video calls between each other.  It's a free app download on both platforms, and it allows for video calls over either WiFi or the phone's 3G data connection (although call quality is better over WiFi).


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Can You Hear Me Now?

LTS has added another piece of technology to our equipment checkout arsenal!  Introducing: the Jabra Speak 410.  What the heck is it?  With more and more requests from Leeds faculty and staff for a better mobile conferencing solution for audio calls (Skype, Google, Live Meeting, Webex), the Jabra 410 serves up duplex audio functionality along with superior sound quality and fits nicely in your laptop bag's pocket. 

TRANSLATION:  duplexing = multiple people can talk at the same time and you don't miss a beat.  Stop by LTS to check it out!

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