Video Chat Is Here. For One Phone.
As predicted, Google has launched video chat for Android. And, as expected it's included in a new version of Google Talk which is amazing because it's the Instant Messaging app that every Android user has installed. Except that Google decided that this would have to come as a part of an OS update. That means it won't get to users of any phone aside from the Nexus S, until manufactures and carriers decide to release it. And we all know how long that will take.
There may be technical reasons for releasing it this way, but that's not an excuse that people care to hear any more. Every Android phone, including those without a front facing camera, can use video chat using 3rd party apps. It's unacceptable that Google couldn't find a way to do the same on their own platform.
The app itself is exactly what it should be. A simple way to connect over WiFi or using the cellular network. This means you can have a video chat over the network, though unless you have a 4G network the video quality is going to be choppy more often than not. The video quality over WiFi is crisp. Any text chats you have are overlaid on the video so you can continue to talk while perhaps taking a look at a link that your friend has shared with you. And, if you're interrupted by a phone call or you leave the app to go check out that link, the video chat pauses until you return. And, if you don't want to video chat, you can use it for voice calls. Both video and voice chats can be had between you and anyone else who has Google Talk. That means anyone with a computer and Gmail. That's a great way to go about it. It's just too bad barely anyone with an Android phone has access to this great app.