Pictured above: CrispApp’ free phone app that lets you call your Facebook friends for free
Hot on the heels of Shape Services’ acquisition of Hong Kong-based CrispApp, the news on the street is that a brand new video calling application is due on App Store withing the next ten days, reports technology blog TechCrunch. Called IM+ Video, the app should leverage CrispApp’s proprietary video technology to enable the fourth major video calling choice, in addition to iOS versions of multi-platform apps Skype and Fring, as well as Apple’s own FaceTime technology bundled since iOS 4.
Exclusive – SHAPE Services, the company behind the immensely popular, cross-platform IM+ messaging applications (and then some), has agreed to acquire CrispApp, the Hong Kong based developer of the fone app for iOS. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but we’ve poked around and learned that the purchase price was approximately $200,000.
There’s a catch however…
IM+ Video will be tied to your Facebook friends, likely excluding people that do not use Zuckerberg’s social network or those you didn’t friend yet. On the flipside, you will be able to place free video calls mobile to mobile, mobile to desktop and the other way around. There are several apps on the App Store that let you place free VoIP calls to your Facebook friends. For example, I’ve been a regular user of the Vonage app for iOS and Android. The problem with those in general is that it’s hard to persuade your contacts to download a particular app on their smartphone. Those that do, however, tend to remove any lesser known app after a few weeks of use because only a limited number of their contacts run the same program. And with Facebook’s “awesome launch” this Thursday probably being Skype VoIP and video calling integration in Facebook, the prospect for third-party solutions that rely on Facebook Connect quickly diminishes. That being said, however, Shape Services has grown into the force to be reckoned with (12.5 million registered IM+ users) and we suspect they will add support for other contact directories apart from Facebook to the rumored IM+ Video app.