A quick look at Qik

Saw the news yesterday that Qik is going to be pre-installed on the new Nokia 5800. I would think that would be a big deal for the company because it is not easy to get a app pre-installed on a device and it is not always easy for users to go find an application and install it, even if it is free. You hear about it, then remind yourself to look it up, and then you forget about it. Many would not even bother to go and look it up. But if it comes pre-installed then there is a much higher likelihood somebody is going to check it out.

It was interesting to see this announcement knowing Nokia has invested in Kyte. Qik seems to have many net personalities and other VCs lined up behind it with their wallets. But these things are so fluid and there are so many channels and device alternatives with companies like Nokia I doubt this is the end of the story.

Taking a quick look at the application it seems to be more geared towards average consumers where as Kyte seems to have more of a media professional angle. But looking at the apps themselves I did not see whole lot of a difference besides Qik seems to be easier to use and it is focused on video content instead of image, etc. The other thing I noticed it was able to use the back and front camera of my E71. Did not see that option with Kyte, unless I missed it. That can be useful if you are saying hi to somebody.

I think usability of Qik is generally better. It was easy to get started. The menu options are simpler, but gives more control over the video quality and performance. I like the fact that I can easily see and control my privacy settings, very important!

It was interesting to see the option or settings menu was on the right soft key when most S60 apps have them on the left and the right button would typically be things like exit, hide, back and so on. The left soft key is used to start and stop streaming which can also be done by the middle button of the 5 way control key. No big deal, just tad different. As I toggle between stream, stop button the application is records and saves separate video segments on the website. I did run into this problem where the recording would be interrupted a few times even though I did not have any incoming call. Hopefully it’s only a simple bug.

Going to the website side of things, I was forced to create an account when i tried to download the app. Otherwise there is no explicit download URL on the site. On the other hand it is not of much use without an account on their server I guess. So I logged into my profile page to see my stream. The captured video segments are listed on the profile page for me to view.

The difficulty I ran into is that there was not a easy way to see my live stream when I was looking at one of my already uploaded videos. It would be nice if there was a way to switch between live and archived videos. So when I doing a live stream from my device I had to reload my profile tab on the website to see the live stream in the main viewer. Needs to be something more obvious than that. The video had the same latency issues I saw with Kyte. It had to buffer the live stream periodically. It spoils the experience and can be a bigger problem under load I imagine. But I also had my quality set to High. I could have also set the optimization setting to Minimum Delay I guess. I liked the way the viewer allowed me to easy get an embeddable, or shareable definition of the video for distribution.

Also if there are others who are broadcasting LIVE it would be nice to find that out instead of recently recorded, just recorded, etc. Even though some videos are tagged live they are not really live. I had same issue with Kyte. May be it is a time delay issue or may be there is nobody broadcasting really live when I went to watch. I can imagine during some events,concerts, that will not be the case and it would be nice to be able to easily access and see some real live channels like TV. And then somebody can do a live 360 degree video mashup of the concert, something along the line of Microsoft’s Photosynth.

Poked around the groups page to see what others are doing. There were lot of groups folks have set up, but most with one member and a couple of videos. I guess everybody is checking it out like myself. The privacy of the uploaded content can be controlled via access settings for groups.I generally liked the ease of use of the phone app. But have to try it out more alongside Kyte.

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