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6/28/2011
04:54 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Fring Tops Facetime On iPad

Fring's free video chatting software lets iPad users to chat with up to four different people at once.

Facetime is great. As long as you have a solid Wi-Fi network available, it works beautifully for video chats--if you don't mind talking to one person at a time.

Fring, which is based in the U.K., has been upping the video chat ante constantly with its Android, iOS, and Symbian clients. Fring isn't limited to Wi-Fi like Facetime, instead it works over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi. It also integrates features such as instant messaging, and more. Now, Fring is targeting iPad owners with better chat capabilities.

The new iPad Group Video chat feature lets up to four Fring users conduct real-time, face-to-face video chats from the Apple iPad. Unlike Facetime, which only works with other properly equipped iOS devices, Fring is a cross-platform service that connects Fring users of Android, iPhone, and Symbian devices. Keep in mind, however, that Fring still requires participants to be Fring users. In other words, you can't connect a Fring video chat with a Skype video chat and a Facetime video chat.

According to Fring, the new iPad tool has been sculpted to take advantage of the iPad's larger display. Using finger gestures, those looking to start video chats need only drag-and-drop their contacts into the video chat tool to initiate conversations. Once a video chat is live, users can send/receive instant messages at the same time using the Fring app.

"Fring is empowering tablet users to unleash the power of their 9.7-inch screens beyond movie watching and gaming to rich, fun personal video communication," said Avi Shechter, CEO and Co-founder of Fring in a statement. "With Group Video on the iPad, we are changing face-to-face video chat. Users will now be able to video socialize on big screen tablets enjoying seeing their friends wherever they are--as they commute, sunbathe at the beach or wait for coffee at a cafe."

I don't know if I'll be bringing my iPad to the beach this summer, but the appeal of conducting a video chat with more than one person has obvious benefits to businesses. Fring, for example, will enable far-flung employees to conduct face-to-face meetings even if the participants are located across the continent. Haven't equipped all your employees with iPads? Not to worry. The iPad client can be used to conduct two-way video chats, voice calls, and instant messaging conversations with colleagues using Android, iPhone, and Nokia smartphones.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the software is that it is free to use. Businesses need not worry about shelling out dollars to make this video chat solution work for them. Creative enterprises can surely put such a tool to good use.

Here's a video that explains a bit more about how it will work:

You can't afford to keep operating without redundancy for critical systems--but business units must prioritize before IT begins implementation. Also in the new, all-digital InformationWeek SMB supplement: Avoid the direct-attached storage trap. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

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