We like to think of a service called Qik as “live YouTube.” It’s a video service that allows users to stream live video feed from their mobile phones to the web. Qik launched a private alpha release not too long ago and people like Kevin Rose and Robert Scoble have really helped to create some buzz about it. The Qik team has just taken another big step by launching into public beta, and now the masses will be able to test it out and take advantage of all that it offers.

Before we get into some of the features and improvements that come with the public beta of Qik, one of our initial concerns with this public beta is whether they can handle the increase in traffic. There’s going to be a lot of people wanting to try out this service, so hopefully they are prepared. Already this morning we were having trouble simply getting their site to load. The next several days and upcoming weeks will really put Qik and their infrastructure to the test.


Now on to Qik and what it’s all about. Qik is primarily for those who want to stream video from their mobile phones. Those who don’t have this capability on their phones do still have the option of signing up for an account if they want to make comments of videos that others post. Broadcasting using Qik works with mobile services like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint which means just about everybody in the United States should be able to take advantage of it, assuming their phone has the video capability.

VentureBeat sat down with Qik co-founder Bhaskar Roy and talked about the service. Roy pointed out how Qik is the quickest online video streaming service because their latency is down to a half-second to 3 seconds, something other competitors aren’t able to claim (latency is the time it takes from when someone starts capturing video to when it appears live on the Internet).

Here you’ll find a list of all the mobile phones that Qik supports. You’ll notice that there are A LOT of supported Nokia phones, a couple of Motorola’s and two Samsung phones. Not on the list currently is the iPhone, although there is a working alpha version of Qik available for a first generation iPhone that is jailbroken. Their goal is to eventually get a working version available for the iPhone 3G.

We’ll be keeping our eye on Qik to see how well it does now that it has launched into public beta. It looks and sounds like a promising new service, and it’ll really be interesting to see if it turns into the YouTube of live video streaming.