Tuesday, December 29, 2009

qik: Live Video Streaming For Mobile Warriors

Qik. I like you to meet the company that’s going to be on the forefront of mobile video streaming. And it’s not just ordinary stream I’m talking about here.

With the Qik app for the iPhone and Android devices, any mobile warrior can become a broadcaster.

Qik has been around for a bit now but it was only recently when Apple allowed Qik to stream live video from the iPhone app that it has suddenly gained a lot of attention in the media and blogs.

For instance, I was able to provide a live stream from my iPhone 2G tethered to the G1 via Wi-Fi Tether and show off a couple of minutes of video from last night’s dinner to a friend overseas.

There is a wide range of implications for this new mobile app. Forget citizen journalists providing near instant updates with still pictures, now folks can report on news right from their mobile device.

How about for folks who can’t make it birthday parties and weddings? No problem if someone at the event is kind enough to provide some live video of the vow or candles being blown out.

The video quality for Qik was good enough consider where we are today with streaming technology and I’m confident that we’ll get to play with better quality videos as mobile devices become apt at handing the load and wireless speed improve with additional 3G upgrades to 7.2mbps or 4th generation wireless. Keep in mind that I was streaming through a tethered iPhone over 3G.

But there is something that I have to come back to: battery life. Wow, did Qik kill my battery on the iPhone. It wasn’t the app’s fault. It’s a fact of life, you know? If live user-provided content are to make inroads, battery life has to improve vastly. I’m going to try this weekend to see what kind of battery life I’ll be able to get out of this.

I’ve got an external battery glove for the iPhone and I’m also able to stream directly from the G1. And I’ve got an extra battery for the Android phone.

Note: You'll noticed that I've mentioned WiFi Tether in this post. If you are brave and are willing to try, go for it. I use it occasionally and I don't see many folks abusing the wireless bandwidth much because of it.

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