For some reason, most phones sold in the U.S. did not have front-facing cameras until recently. So, mobile video calls are still a novelty here. These calls are one-to-one over services like Apple’s Facetime. fring just announced a beta release of a multi-party video call system.
Up to four people can be on a call and see each other at the same time. fring can make calls to other networks like Google Talk. However, it doesn’t work with the two services I (and many other people) use the most: Skype and Facetime. Apple has never opened up Facetime. So, it is understandable that fring cannot work with that network. However, the lack of connectivity with Skype is the result of a problem between the two firms. You can read each side’s story in these two blog items:
fring: Following fring’s string of mobile video calling wins – Skype blocks fring (July 12, 2010)
Skype: Fring’s mis-use of Skype software was damaging to our brand and reputation (July 12, 2010)
Video courtesy of fringlang