iPhone video chat is an amazing way to call your friends and family with audio and video. We are all familiar with audio calls on the internet using VoIP applications such as Skype and Tango which allow you to make cheap international calls with your iPhone.
iPhone video chat adds another dimension of chatting on-line which is video. Video calling is nothing new, it has been around for a long time between computers using web cams. However, it is very new to the mobile phones.
With the introduction of the iPhone 4, the front facing camera, and some video chat application like FaceTime, Apple was able to revolutionize the mobile video calls.
As the number of iPhone users increases around the world, FaceTime for iPhone and the iPhone video chat could become the standard.
There are many other third party iPhone applications like Tango and Yahoo messenger that allow you to achieve the same objective but are moving a little faster than FaceTime.
iPhone Video Chat Applications:
When video chatting was released with the iPhone 4, video calls were limited to wifi only, and to only one application from Apple called FaceTime. It required an iPhone 4 with a front facing camera.
Therefore, allowing video calls between iPhone 4's, iPod touch, iPad, Mac users, and even PC users.
Facetime allows iPhone 4 users to video chat with each other by simply dialing the regular phone number when both parties are on wifi. Once the connection is established, you will enjoy high quality voice over IP with video on your iPhone 4.
Also, Apple is planning to release FaceTime as an open source application which will make it possible for other smart phones with front facing camera running Android for example, to use FaceTime and chat with iPhone users.
The future of FaceTime is very bright but it is moving slowly as other third party video chatting giants like Yahoo messenger, Tango, and Skype are already breaking the wifi limitation and running on several operating systems already.
Tango for iPhone:
Fring implemented video chatting on the iPhone long time before the iPhone 4 and FaceTime, but it was through Skype and you could only see your party if they had a web cam through their PC.
There was no front camera on the iPhone and the rear camera wasn't supported.
Later, Fring implemented iPhone video chat to support the iPhone 4 front facing camera, but it is only between mobile phones with front facing cameras and no PC or mac support.
Therefore, it is not possible to video chat from your iPhone with your friend on a PC or Mac. Fring is currently limited to mobile video calls only.
Yahoo messenger is simply the best iPhone video chat application so far. It allows you to start a video call with others on Mac or PC who has Yahoo messenger installed. It also has the advantage of connecting over wifi and 3G overcoming the restriction of Apple FaceTime.
Yahoo messenger will allow any Mac, PC or iPod Touch user to video chat with each other and with iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS users. Although the iPhone 3GS doesn't have a front facing camera, Yahoo messenger can still show the rear camera, and view your party camera.
Yahoo messenger by far has the biggest population of video call coverage for the iPhone which means that by signing up for Yahoo messenger, it is possible to video chat with more people than any other video chat application on the iPhone. All what you need is that you and your party install the Yahoo messenger on your computer or iDevice.
Tango is an application for both the iOS 4 and Android. It is a cross platform application that allows iPhone users to video chat with other mobile phones with front facing camera and running Android. Again, Tango is free, and beats Apple FaceTime with its ability to video call over both 3G and wifi.
Unfortunately, Tango is not available for Mac or PC, which makes it limited to mobile phone video calling. I find video chatting useless if not available to desktop computers because it limits your iPhone to video call the majority of the people who have Mac's and PC's with web cams.
Skype is unfortunately still behind in implementing iPhone video chat. Although Skype is still the perfect solution to make cheap international calls and free calls to other Skype users on PC's and Mac's, it still doesn't support video calls on the iPhone.
I am sure that Skype will implement video chat on the iPhone but it is now behind of Yahoo messenger and other video chat applications.
Advantages of iPhone Video Chat:
It is mobile, as you can see your friend or family member thousands of miles away if they have a phone with a camera, or a desktop computer with a web cam.
It is free, there is no charge at all if you use wifi or if you have an iPhone data plan. However, you have to pay for your internet service if you don't have a data plan or if you are abroad with no wifi.
With the iPhone 4, it is possible to use the rear camera to show your party what you see, and flip the camera to show yourself instantly.
Yahoo messenger allows you to chat with video even if you don't have a video camera. You can still see your party if he/she has a video camera.
Disadvantages of iPhone Video Chat:
FaceTime from Apple works only on wifi and only between iPhones 4, forth generation iPod touch and some Macs.
Some charges might apply to your internet connection if you use your 3G network and don't have an iPhone data plan.
The video quality might be a little choppy or very bad depending on the connection speed in your area where you are making the video call, specially if you are in a moving car or walking. The video quality is also dependent on your party's connection speed.