Posted by: Frank | June 27, 2009

Qik, Broadcast That On the Internet

The volume of quality applications for Android is on a crescendo, with the increasing availability of some popular applications that have been available for other mobile phones. One such application is Qik, which is an amazing application that streams live video on the Internet using mobile phones with video cameras. Video streaming is the type of thing we use as a reference when talking about the speed of wireless networks, such as 3G is needed for streaming video; 4G is needed for streaming high quality video.

Two weeks ago when the election in Iran appeared to be rigged, people in Iran began to revolt and many of us first learned about it on Twitter. Twitter provided us with first hand accounts of what was happening in Iran before main stream media. Imagine if addition to Twitter these people had Qik on their phones and were able to stream live video of what was happening. As they say, a picture says a thousand words.

My point is that tools like Qik are going to be very important, and if you think about how they work, it’s pretty amazing, so it is fun to play with. From a little device in my hand I can broadcast video that millions of people around the world can see, that very instant. You could not imagine being able to do something like live video streaming from mobile phones five years ago, back then we were just happy to have our e-mail pushed to our phones at near the same time it arrived on the mail server.

Qik has been available for some time on other mobile devices and the Android version is an early release, but as you can see, it functions very well. The video quality coming from my G1 is limited by the camera, which doesn’t quickly adjust for lighting conditions. Remember that most of the broadcast video that we are used to seeing has lighting to make everything clearly visible and the cameras they use have adjustable apertures to enable the camera operator to allow the right amount of light into the shot.

Apparently Qik caches the video recording to the device before streaming/uploading it to the Internet, which is why I learned that if you don’t have any space on your storage card the program will not work. This also means that you will need to remember to remove the video files from your card after they have been uploaded.

You can configure Qik to automatically send a message via Twitter that you are streaming live, and when someone clicks the URL that is included, they will be able to see the video that you are recording live. Obviously, there is a delay in the stream. In a test I propped my camera on a table, opened the live stream on my netbook, walked in front of the camera, and sat back down to later see myself in front of the camera, and that was on Wi-Fi as opposed to 3G.

Yes, network speed matters. While Qik will stream over Edge, viewers will find it frequently pausing. It does appear that you can upload the video over Edge and viewers should have a better time seeing the recording as opposed to the live stream. The good news is that the current version of Qik for Android is only an alpha release and yet is pretty functional, but it will get much better. It can be used right now for recording and streaming video from Android phones, and you can share that video on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. If you have a Android phone, I think it is worth trying out.



  1. […] of Apple’s new video streaming techology included in iPhone OS 3.0. As I wrote about in my last blog post, I think video streaming on mobile phones is going to have a significant impact on how we get news […]

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