Now, live video calling is here, easily, via fring and its iPhone app (fring is an Israeli-based start-up).
Here's the hitch. For now, the iPhone only has one camera which is on the "other side" of the touch pad. This is great for video recording, but ain't so great for video calling (since you can't see the person with whom you are having the video call if you are pointing the camera at yourself during that call).
So, for now, fring's app only works for inbound video calls, which significantly limits its utility.
Or does it?
As I have long written -- since I was in the live video communications space for years with my former company, SightSpeed -- the promise of mobile video calling may actually live in one-way "see what I'm seeing" calling (rather than 2-way video conversations). In other words, call your buddy from the U2 concert -- point your iPhone at Bono -- and show him live in all his glory to your friend thousands of miles away who couldn't attend the show. Think of all the other utility with live mobile "see what I'm seeing" calling (check out my former blog post here on the subject by clicking on this link).
And, in any event, there is no doubt in my mind that the iPhone also ultimately will ship with two cameras and its own vid calling service. My prediction is that this will happen with the next several months -- by the end of 2010.
Yes, there may be doubters. But, I am not one of them. Mobile video calling -- both "See What I'm Seeing" and 2-way video calling -- will be big, big, big. Very very big ...