Third time’s a charm? Color tries to corner social video again by partnering with Verizon

Color launch screenSince it infamously debuted, culling labels like “revolutionary” and “ground-breaking” and pulling in the type of early valuation numbers that bubble fear-mongering is made of, Color has had a difficult time establishing itself. The original application floundered early due to a confusing UI and extremely high expectations.

Color’s pivot hasn’t amounted to much either. It became tightly integrated with Facebook to provide personal livestreaming. The application is supposed to function as a video status update and while it’s been integrated into Timeline, competitors like SocialCam and Viddy have managed to eclipse it.

But maybe third time’s a charm: Color has just announced it is partnering with Verizon Wireless to bring livestreaming to Android smartphones. Color will become a native app for a handful of Androids, which will have the ability to record and publish 30-second movie clips to Facebook. Color’s function will remain the same (except audio will be introduced), and now it will get some prime placement on user’s phones – perhaps spurring some use.

“I realized that Verizon’s 4G network and their influence on smartphone design would accelerate our plan by light years,” founder Bill Nguyen writes on the Color blog. “We created a partnership to integrate Color into smartphones to take advantage of the ‘metal’ or hardware not just software for encoding the HQ video. We could use their amazing, pervasive 4G network to deliver LIVE video directly from smartphones to the entire world.”

“So today, we’re formally unveiling our relationship with Verizon and a small down payment on the future. With their help, we’ve added audio to our LIVE video exclusively on the Verizon network. We’ve doubled the frame rate on our videos so our friends and family can see more moments more clearly. We did all this in less than two months.”

As Nguyen revealed, in addition to some nice real estate with Android’s, Color has gotten a considerable spec upgrade as well, and now videos should look better (they were fairly low quality at its Facebook relaunch). He says that video quality will be improved by 20 times and only use four times the bandwidth. And Nguyen wants the specific content to continue improving: “One day in the near future, you will be able to capture every moment and share it LIVE in beautiful HD quality and you’ll have the recorded video to keep. From that video, you’ll be able to pick out exact frames you want to share as photos.”

Handsets that feature the native Color integration will be on shelves later this year, so until then you’ll have to settle with using the Facebook application. The quality boost will undoubtedly make Color a better option for social video aficionados, but social video in general is sort of in flux. No one has quite pinpointed it yet, although Color’s competitors have inarguably done a better job. But this is one startup that refuses to go out quietly, and native integration (perhaps with iPhone in the future) could mean better days ahead.