Fring set to exploit Skype's weaknesses on Android

October 4, 2010: 8:08 AM ET

The video and VoIP provider will announce an Android version of its FringOut program for Android devices, no matter which carrier they use.

Skype made an exclusivity deal with Verizon (VZ) earlier this year that precluded the popular VoIP application from being available on Android or Blackberry for any other carrier...in the world.  Talk about poor decision making for a company trying to position itself for an upcoming IPO. Blackberry (RIMM) is the biggest smartphone vendor in the U.S., Google's (GOOG) Android is growing the fastest.

That agreement may or may not end next year, but competitors are now exploiting that weakness.

Fring, an Israel-based company that is attracting more than a million new customers per month (most of them in the U.S.), will announce FringOut for Android later today. FringOut allows Fring customers to make calls to landlines from within their instant messaging application. But that's just one of Fring's appeals...

Android users can obviously use Google Voice for making long distance calls on the cheap, but Fring offers instant messaging for most of the different services (MSN, Yahoo, AIM, etc.) out there as well, including Google Talk's Jabber. It also offers video conferencing options which make it available for video chat not only with other Android users on Fring, but users of other platforms with front-facing cameras like Apple's iPhone and market leading Nokia phones.

Fring previously allowed Skype users to make and receive video calls using their Skype accounts, but Skype cut Fring users off right after Fring video conferencing was made available on the iPhone 4's front facing video camera.

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Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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