I got a message yesterday from the fine folks at Qik letting me know that they’ve added support for a number of BlackBerry devices. These include the Bold, the Pearl, and a couple of Curves, the 8320 and the 8330. Since I’m a proud owner of an 8330, I decided to give the service a whirl. It’s still in alpha, so I knew going in there would be some bugs. Since this seems like a neat new service, though, I thought I should give it a try. Here’s what I found.
For starters, let me tell you how strange it is to type a Q without an immediately following U. We’re trained to do this from the first moment we write, so I typed Quik numerous times while writing this review. Proofreading helped a ton.
What is Qik?
The premise of Qik is simple. It allows you to record and instantly upload videos from your smartphone. You can then share your findings with friends and family, or you can make it available for all to see. This gives it a leg up on popular video streaming sites. Instead of going through multiple processes (shooting, saving, transferring, uploading), you can do everything in one fell swoop. Shoot with your built-in camera, and Qik will automatically upload it to their site following your parameters.
The best part of Qik is its simplicity. You sign up for the service, at which time you’ll receive a text message with a download link. Click it, and you’ll start the installation process. At the same time, you can register an account with Qik, which will allow you to sign in and shoot and upload video.
The Qik application is as basic as it gets. There’s a field in which you can enter the video title, a description, tags, and then you can set it to public or private. When you’re done, hit the big Stream button at the bottom, and your video recorder will launch automatically (and start recording after a second, too).
That’s about it. Once you’re done Qik takes care of the rest. Just make sure you don’t shoot anything unsavory while you’re in Public mode. You’ll have the option to delete the movie after you stop it, which you can do by hitting the big Pause button.
Watching videos on Qik
Unfortunately, the Qik application only takes care of recording videos. If you’d like to view others’ videos, you’ll have to go to Qik.com from your BlackBerry Browser. You’ll then get a list of the most recent videos, which you can click on and open in your BlackBerry Media Player. You can also save the videos for future watching.
A quick note before moving on. You have to sign into the website even if you are already signed into the application. This will allow you not only to search through videos, but to view your own uploaded videos. I can hereby confirm that yes, your video do automatically upload unless you first delete them. So be careful if you’re just testing out. That stuff can go public instantly.
As I mentioned, this is alpha software and is bound to see a number of bugs. I’ll go over the few that I’ve found during my initial run with Qik.
Video screen in the middle. After closing out of the video recorder, the viewfinder screen would not go away. I tried re-launching the video recorder, but to no avail. I tried closing all of the relevant applications. Nothing. To solve this, I had to use the method for solving any BlackBerry problem. After a battery pull, everything was back to normal, and I didn’t experience the issue a second time.
I’m not sure if this is an alpha issue or an OS issue, but every time I tried to steam a video, it would start buffering and then give me an error. I’m running OS 18.104.22.168, which has streaming video capabilities, but apparently not with Qik. They say ideally you should be running 4.5, so I’m going to upgrade this week and give it another whirl.
Finally, there’s no easy way to back out of the video recorder into the Qik application. I just had to hit the End button, then click on Qik again. Not a huge deal, of course, but a minor nuisance.
For an alpha release, this is pretty damn good. Everything functioned well, beyond the issues I listed above, but even those don’t kill the deal. They’re mostly minor things that will be addressed as the application develops.
If you’re into sharing videos with friends, this is an easy method to do so. That it’s free only helps its case. If you’re bored and want to give it a try, it won’t take too much time. If you do, let me know what you think of it.