iPhone 4 Two-Way Calling Available from Fring

Fring, a provider of voice over IP apps, was slightly overwhelmed, following the release of a two-way calling app allowing iPhone 4 owners to chat face-to-face with friends on various mobile platforms.

Fring has introduced an already popular new app to the Apple App Store that allows iPhone 4 owners to enjoy two-way video calls over WiFi or 3G, with friends on older iPhone, Android or Symbian smartphones.

The app has proven so popular, however, that the Fring Blog waved a white flag, noting it was experiencing some "network stress."

"To free up capacity for more...Fring-to-Fring video calling, we are temporarily reducing support to 3rd-party Skype," a blogger named Tom posted July 9.

While the VOIP (voice over IP) company launched a free video-calling app for the iPhone in December 2009, its newest software adds the ability for iPhone 4 owners to video chat with friends on different platforms, including one-way video calls to owners of the iPhone 3GS, with its single camera.

The new app also allows for multitasking - running in the background while iPhone 4 users see to other tasks. There's also a new Social Stream, described by Fring as "a chronological stream of all Tweets, Facebook updates, chats and calls, all in one place with easy, cross-community communication and simple sorting capabilities."

Additionally, the newest version includes a "smarter address book," says the company, that's able to better manage a user's buddy lists and contacts.

"We are thrilled to bring iPhone users unrestricted video calling with all their friends and family. Ever since we launched the world's first mobile video calling last year, we see millions of users thirsty to share richer communication experiences," Fring CEO Avi Shechter said in a July 8 statement. "We're proud to facilitate this face-to-face mobile communication experience among friends wherever they are and wherever their friends are on smartphones."

Fring's apps require no additional hardware, are PC- and geography-independent, and are available for platforms including the iPod touch, Android, Symbian S60, Windows Mobile, J2ME, Linux an MeeGo. According to the company, half a million new users sign up each month.

Like the iPhone 4, a number of new smartphones include a second, front-facing camera, included specifically for video chatting over programs such as Fring. The HTC Evo 4G, on the Sprint network, complements its rear-facing 8-megapixel with a front-facing, 1.3-megapixel model for chatting. The Samsung Epic 4G, slated to become Sprint's second 4G-enabled phone, likewise features a second camera.

At an event in June, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha told members of the media that Motorola is planning to introduce two to four phones in 2010 that will include front-facing cameras for video chatting.

Jha reportedly admittedly that he personally had "never been a great believer" in consumer demand for the technology. Millions of Fring fans now have a new way to tell him otherwise.