As mobile phones become more powerful, and unlimited data transfer plans from carriers become widespread, technologies such as streaming live video from phones are becoming feasible. One of the most hyped players in this market is Qik. Unfortunately, so far Qik has only worked on select Nokia devices such as the popular N95 phone. However, starting tomorrow Qik is rolling out support for select Windows Mobile devices.
Initially this partnership will bring Qik services to the Motorola Q and Samsung BlackJack phones. I’ve seen an early build of the service running on a BlackJack, and it seems to work more seamlessly on Windows Mobile than it does on the N95.
The Windows Mobile compatibility should help bring the Qik service to a larger audience. While the N95 is a very expensive phone (usually around $500-$600), the Q and BlackJack can be found for much more reasonable prices. Also, Microsoft says that it expects to sell 20 million Windows Mobile licenses in FY08, so there will be potential for much more growth as well.
Unfortunately, the timing is poor for Qik. This announcement comes just days before Apple’s WWDC event, where it is expected to unveil the 3G iPhone. This device will simply overshadow all other mobile announcements in the industry for quite some time.
Another potential problem for Qik are the rumors of video streaming capabilities being a central part of this new iPhone. While it’s no sure bet, there have been signs that such functionality could be a key component of an iChat application Apple is working on for the device.
When asked about Qik possibly working on the 3G iPhone, Qik co-founder Bhaskar Roy gave a non-committal answer. “We are going to evaluate it once the [3G] iPhone gets launched next week to see what capabilities it has and what we need to do in order to support it. We’ll need to evaluate it and figure out the next steps therein,” Roy told MobileCrunch.
Given how long it took Qik to move beyond support for basically one phone, this is not a good sign. With the 3G iPhone, it could be an issue of being ready to support it or being left in the dust. Especially with competitors like Flixwagon and Kyte out there. Flixwagon in particular may be poised to break out beyond the elite tech crowd that Qik is currently popular with.
We first reported back in April that Qik parent Visivo had raised a new $3 million round to expand the service.
[Qik and Flixwagon are nominees for best mobile company at MobileBeat2008, VentureBeat’s conference on July 24]