Qik.com has been 'qiking' around for some time but now they've kicked things into high gear and have opened up for a public beta.
San Mateo, CA based Qik, which is pronounced 'quick' strangely enough, are makers of a mobile phone application made to allow users to stream video straight from their mobile phones to the web and then to other mobiles. This could make everyone a mobile journalist or life blogger if they have a video-capable mobile phone. The app is Twitter capable as well.
Qik looks to want to be the leader in streaming mobile video. They are hoping that everyone with a video-enabled mobile phone will find and share compelling video with users around the world. At present the software app is almost exclusive to Nokia S60 phones but several other phones are compatible at present including Windows Mobile phones from Motorola and Samsung. There is also an alpha client for the iPhone 1.0 but it doesn't look to be readily available and there's no word as to when the 3G (iPhone 2.0) version will be ready either.
Since video streaming will eat data bandwidth at a rapid pace they suggest you have an unlimited data plan which, along with the lack of compatible mobile phones will severely limit their user base at present. You can only sign up now if you have an active mobile number and are able to click the link and download and install the application. There is no web-based account signup or download of the application.
The good news is that all streams are recorded and saved on the server which means you needn't worry about filling up that 8GB on your Nokia N95 with video leaving no room for anything else like music and games. You can download the videos at a later time in FLV and 3GP format so you always have a copy of your videos if you want them at home.
The Qik service shows a great new way to combine mobiles and the web and with the bandwidth bill probably beginning to pile up I'm certain they'll be looking to monetize on their creation, which means, advertising. They already have a flash-based player for the videos so plugging in video ads should be a snap in the future. I did a quick 'qik' Google Video search and it pulled up seven videos from the site in the first 10 pages of result.
At present there is no advertising on the site which is probably because it is in early beta testing. But that also means they are either going to start charging for the service or they are going to be looking for advertisers. At present there are over 76,000 qiks on the site from an estimated user base of only a few thousand (no numbers readily available).
Here is a video interview from Beet.tv (I wish I had the time, Andy does so many great interviews)
One final note if you were thinking about using the service for viral video…
From Qik.com Terms of Service:
Qik's service is for personal, non-commercial use only and may not be used for any commercial purpose, without a written approval. If you wish to use the service for commercial purposes, please contact Qik at bizdev AT qik.com