Qik Turns Phones into Live Video Cameras

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In a move that threatens to turn the age of the ubiquitous cell phone camera in to the age of ubiquitous live cell phone video, Qik Inc. has launched an alpha version of its eponymous service Qik, which enables selected Nokia and Sony Ericsson J2ME handsets to stream live video to the Internet with just two clicks. And, what’s more, folks watching the live video stream from the Web can chat with the video-transmitting phone in real time.

“It’s a real milestone for mobile technology that an advanced utility like Qik is now available on mass market cell phones,” said Qik co-founder and CEO Ramu Sunkara, in a statement. “We have been astounded by the use of Qik by smartphone owners, and are excited to see what mass market cell phone users will stream live to the Web.”

An alpha release of Qik is currently available for Nokia’s 5300, 6300, 6500, 6555, 8800 phones, as well as the Sony Ericsson G502, K660i, K850i, K858c, W890i, W908c, W910i, and Z750i. Folks who have a supported device can register at Qik’s Web site to get access to the alpha. Qik expects to issue a beta release in the coming weeks with support for additional handsets expected shortly thereafter.

Qik users have wasted no time streaming celebrities and notable events to the Web, including U.S. presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama, Apple’s recent MacBook introduction, public appearances by the Pope, and the lighting of the Olympic torch. Qik says thousands of users are streaming real-life events to the Web using their software. Qik positions their service as a way for users to stream important moments in their lives to friends, family, or the entire Internet-connected world.

Qik has recently inked a deal with Nokia to include their software on the Nokai 5800 XPressMusic touchscreen phone.

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