In case you are upset with the lack of FaceTime calling over 3G or if FaceTime is not working at all, it does not mean you cannot video chat using your iOS device. Today we are listing three great FaceTime alternatives for video calling from your iPhone or iPod Touch.
Agreed, FaceTime is great. Maybe even “Magical” like Apple suggests. However, it does have certain shortcomings. One great shortcoming is that it does not work over 3G. Also, certain users are unable to activate FaceTime on their wireless networks.
So, whatever the reason be to look for alternative ways to voice chat and video chat on your iOS device, we got you covered. Let’s look at the three most promising contenders.
Everyone I know has a Skype account. Last year in December itself, Skype rolled out Video calling for iPhone users. The advantages of using Skype are that it not only works with iOS devices like iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPod Touch 4G but also with desktop users running Windows, Mac OS X and even Linux.
Agreed that both users have to be signed in and accept friend requests, which you don’t need to do when setting up FaceTime. However, Skype has an upper hand over FaceTime since it works over GPRS/EDGE and 3G. Also, once the configuration is done, Skype can easily run in the background and wait for calls.
However, I was not as pleased with the quality of audio and video with Skype. There was noticeable lag. Maybe I feel this way only because I have used FaceTime a lot in the past few months. I haven’t checked how much data Skype is consuming per minute yet, but we do know how much data FaceTime calls use.
Download Skype to your iOS device for free here.
You Might Be Interested in More:
- Facetime Coming to Windows and Mac iChat?
- Tip: Test FaceTime Calls on iPhone 4 or iPod Touch 4G Using Your Mac
Tango Video Calls
Tango did not get a lot of attention earlier because until the latest update, it didn’t support the iPod Touch 4G and also lacked multitasking and background support. But things have started to change now.
The latest update of Tango, released in March 2011, brings multitasking as well as support for iPod Touch 4G. Just like Skype and Yahoo, Tango will work both over wi-fi networks as well as 3G.
An extra advantage with Tango is that apart from iOS devices it also works with Android smartphones. So, you can make video calls to people with other phones even though you can’t call Macs or PCs at the moment using Tango.
Tango uses your phone’s addressbook to automatically populate the list of people who are using Tango. If you have used Whatsapp, you might be familiar with this method.
We’ll be publishing our full review of Tango soon. In the meantime you can try Tango Video calls for free on your iOS device here.
Yahoo Messenger is another service that needs no introduction. Just like Skype, most users already have a Yahoo account.
The latest update to Yahoo Messenger enabled video calling on iPod Touch too apart from iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 which were supported since earlier.
Just like Skype, you can use Yahoo Messenger for voice chat or video chatting over 3G and Wi-fi. You can also make calls to computers but when we last tried only two out of every five calls went through and the rest failed. At some times, the feature to video chat/voice chat would become disabled in the iPhone app for no apparent reason.
Once Yahoo works a bit on perfecting the messenger, this can give bring back a lot of users. You can get Yahoo Messenger for free on your iPhone or other iOS devices here.
The overall quality of the conversation in all three of the above were a bit lacking. Perhaps, Apple really does have a very good compression tool and fast servers at work behind FaceTime.
The good part is that, today we are looking at multiple ways to communicate and a lot of free services coming up. They are not only raising the bar for themselves and others but also giving us access to features which we didn’t think we could have so early on our smartphones.
Don’t forget to share with us, which of these service do you like the most and which one would you suggest to your friends with iOS/Android devices?