Fring does iPhone 4 video chat, now over 3G

When Steve Jobs announced the video chat capabilities of the iPhone 4 with its front facing camera, the Apple world was stoked. When he announced that the proprietary video chat app, Facetime, would only work over a WiFi connection, a collective groan could be heard. The blame fingers were pointed in every direction, but the reality stayed the same. For the time being, video chat only worked on a Wifi connection, which, for most people, means indoors somewhere.

With the release of the new version of Fring at the iPhone App Store, Apple users are no longer shackled to WiFi for video chat. Fring is a free third party communications app, much like Skype, that lets you call friends with Fring or Skype accounts over an Internet connection, using VoIP, without using minutes. It also happens to do video chat. Android users, especially HTC EVO 4G users, have been using Fring for video calling as a replacement for Qik, the video chat app that shipped with the phone, because Qik only does video. However, Android users were never bound to Wifi connections for video calling, so this release is a little more momentous for the iPhone 4 crowd.

It remains to be seen if AT&T plans on crippling the functionality of Fring. If they couldn’t handle the bandwidth challenge that Apple posed with Facetime, it’s likely that they won’t be very happy with the release of Fring. According to 9to5mac, AT&T is rather infamous for doing away with apps like Google Voice, that allow users to make VoIP calls without using minutes. There has been no response from AT&T as of yet.

Image credit: Apple

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31 Comments

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Congrats on getting to use a feature that should have been standard on the phone... Finally you join the ranks of those who have Evos lol.
Enjoy it while it last, because it might not.
Funny that getting to use a feature of the phone is something so special for apples.....
Does this work for cross platform phones, like could a evo and iphone4 talk to each other using the video chat?

I wouldn't even venture on using video chat on such small bandwidth caps.

"Quick honey... show me your t!ts! I'm on my 2nd gigabite!!"

Its nice to see a 3rd party app with video chat support in a month as oppose to months. I may download it and try it out, but I doubt I will use it at all. I hardly talk to anyone with my phone anymore, everyone txts these days....

SMELTN said,
oh man, I wonder if this is going to get pulled from the app store now

Surely Apple had to approve it first anyway for it to be on the App Store? If they didn't want this situation, they would have presumably just have denied it in the first place.

SMELTN said,
oh man, I wonder if this is going to get pulled from the app store now

I don't think they use to, if they're approved. I think AT&T has much more of a problem with this one than Apple. Apple don't give a sh*t about bandwidth usage.

Northgrove said,

I don't think they use to, if they're approved. I think AT&T has much more of a problem with this one than Apple. Apple don't give a sh*t about bandwidth usage.

Now that AT&T is capping bandwidth on their smartphone plans, I'm not sure they care. However, there are a LOT of people out there still on unlimited data plans.

Shadrack said,

Now that AT&T is capping bandwidth on their smartphone plans, I'm not sure they care. However, there are a LOT of people out there still on unlimited data plans.

like me muahahahahaha

Shadrack said,

Now that AT&T is capping bandwidth on their smartphone plans, I'm not sure they care. However, there are a LOT of people out there still on unlimited data plans.

From what I understand, the iPhone 4 comes with a limited data plan. iPhone 3GS and earlier models do not have a front-facing camera (and were the ones with the unlimited plan). As such, the video chat is rather useless unless the other end has a front-facing camera and doesn't mind staring into nothing while you get to watch them.

Metodi Mitov said,

From what I understand, the iPhone 4 comes with a limited data plan. iPhone 3GS and earlier models do not have a front-facing camera (and were the ones with the unlimited plan). As such, the video chat is rather useless unless the other end has a front-facing camera and doesn't mind staring into nothing while you get to watch them.

No, your understanding is wrong. If you are an AT&T customer with an unlimited plan and have not opted out of the plan (like I have) then you will keep your unlimited plan even if you upgrade the phone. The only thing that forces you out of the unlimited plan is if you want to enable tethering. When I was upgrading my 3GS to the 4, my data plan options were listed as: Unlimted, 200MB Dataplus, 2GB Datapro, and 2GB Datapro+tethering. By the "Unlimited" option there was a big astrax and below that it said "If you switch to another data plan other than your current Unlimited plan, you will not be able to go back to this plan"

I looked at my bills...i only went over 200MB once all last year. I don't mind saving $15/mo or $180 a year for something I'm not using. I'm almost always covered by wifi. For some people this is a good deal.

SMELTN said,
oh man, I wonder if this is going to get pulled from the app store now

Why would it? The video knocking app has been there for years.

Rudy said,
The iPhone 4 was released less than a month ago...calm down a bit

LOL i know. developers are good but their not that good.

noleafclover said,
Yeah but Fring has been doing this on Windows Mobile for years
Shows that Apple is behind in some ways with the Iphone 4 and needs to start catching up against WM/WP7, unless they pull it for some stupid reason from the app store which I can see happening because of the front cam to be used the way Apple wants it.

Xypro said,
Shows that Apple is behind in some ways with the Iphone 4 and needs to start catching up against WM/WP7, unless they pull it for some stupid reason from the app store which I can see happening because of the front cam to be used the way Apple wants it.

it was probably AT&T's decision not apples.

Xypro said,
Shows that Apple is behind in some ways with the Iphone 4 and needs to start catching up against WM/WP7, unless they pull it for some stupid reason from the app store which I can see happening because of the front cam to be used the way Apple wants it.

The iPhone needs to do what now? Catch up with WM? I thought that the whole WP7 thang was to catch up with the iPhone and Android smartphones .

Shadrack said,

The iPhone needs to do what now? Catch up with WM? I thought that the whole WP7 thang was to catch up with the iPhone and Android smartphones .

Yes, on some things...

Windows Mobile was doing voice commands and hands free dialing, ink and handwriting, bluetooth audio, multitasking, printing, etc before the iPhone existed.

This is why a lot of technical people outside of the Apple bubble lampooned the iPhone when it was first introduced because the iPhone couldn't do them, even though these things were basic features of even cheap and free phones, let alone a 'smartphone'.

Some of these features, in later releases of the iPhone have appeared, but there are STILL a lot of features in the Windows Mobile/WinCE/Win7Phone technology that still does not exist in iOS and some even the iPhone4 doesn't have the 'hardware' capability to handle.