Android is currently the fastest growing mobile platform and the main reason for that is that it is Open Source, giving greater flexibility to application developers. While a lot of Android phones do have a secondary front camera meant to be used in video calling, it was never really put to use until recently. The reason was that the platform did not have native support for video calling until the introduction of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, even as Google is working on Android 2.3.4 to bring native support for the same to be used via Google Talk. Until then, here is our pick of apps that will facilitate video calling on your Android phone for free. Please bear in mind that video calling through each of these apps works over Wi-Fi as well as 3G, and data charges will be applicable according to the data plan you have opted for.
Current Version: 1.4
Size: 2.4 MB
Requirements: Android 2.0.1 and above.
One of the oldest IMs around, and with most people already having a Yahoo! id, Yahoo! Messenger is the ideal app to start off with. While it does support front facing camera, you may find that it does not allow you to do so on some devices. In such cases, you can easily use the rear camera to make a video call (even if it may mean that you will have to stand in front of a mirror to make a call). Since the app does not natively support video chat, you are required to install the video plug-in from the Android Market to make video calls.
This app is still in beta, so we can expect better video calling support (without you having to install an additional plug-in), in future versions. In addition to making video calls, you can chat with your buddies on Yahoo!, Windows Live, and Facebook, share photos and videos, or even send free international SMS.
Qik Video Connect
Current Version: 0.08.43
Size: 4.5 MB
Requirements: Android 2.1 and above.
Qik Video Connect is an awesome app for video calling because it was built from the ground up with that in mind. Just like with other IM services, you are required to sign up for free with Qik to use this app. This app sports a very clean interface with the video of the other party occupying almost the entire screen (with support for up to VGA resolution) and your video in the top left corner.
One of the highlights of this service is the ability to make video calls to iDevice users. Yet another feature is Video Mail, where you can send or receive video messages if the other party is offline, though sending is no longer available for free, receiving remains free. Similarly, you can share live videos to Facebook, Twitter, and a few other social networks.