Thursday, June 12, 2008

Qik Comes Quick with Live Streaming on iPhone

Just a few hours after the news that Flixwagon announced they were able to stream live video from an unlocked iPhone the other popular live mobile streaming service Qik has followed suit. This story also generated a wild flurry of reports on Techmeme and my Google Reader and seems to be a sudden about face from what Qik previous stated last week. The iPhone doesn't support video recording with a native application but Qik and Flixwagon have figured out how skip recording on the device and record the live mobile broadcast stream.

Qik announced a private alpha on their web site starting next week and featured the video below by Michael Fortson who demonstrates the first live stream from an iPhone.

Qik Announces iPhone Support
"Adding to our 30 supported devices, Qik is now announcing support for the iPhone, bringing the full Qik experience to legions of iPhone fans the world over." - video description

Liz Gannes of NewTeeVee says, "Qik discovered that the camera on the iPhone was video-capable earlier this year, co-founder and VP product marketing Bhaskar Roy told us this afternoon. But the phone had no built-in encoder or video engine to actually capture video. In the past few months the company worked on building a solution, but was waiting until Steve Jobs’ iPhone 2 release on Monday to see if Apple would include a video engine itself and make Qik’s solution obsolete." But that announcement didn't happen at the WWDC so Qik decided to push their solution to market. Roy said he was surprised that his competitor released a nearly identical demo online today.

Regarding the lack of an Apple recording application on the iPhone, Kevin Lim writes on his blog,"So a lot of us have lamented over the fact that video recording just doesn’t officially exist on the iPhone. Loren Feldman of 1938 Media got pissed mad about it (warning: harsh language), while developers at Polar Bear Farm (nice!) took matters into their own hands by producing ShowTime, a beautiful video recorder for jailbroken iPhones." Lim says it makes a lot of sense to skip storing our media to local devices and store record cour content,"directly into the wonderful cloud of web servers" which is exactly what both Qik and Flixwagon do.

David Chartier of Ars Technica suggested a possible snag in Qik's plan in his post, Qik iPhone client may violate AT&T's terms of service, and that the fine print forbids video streaming on their network as it's use can "cause extreme network capacity issues and interference with the network and are therefore prohibited."

How that will play out is not yet clear, but a number of sources have cited that this could be the summer of mobile video wars between the two competitors along with other similar services. Just wait until Apple releases it's own video application.