“There is nothing new about video chatting on computers, where people commonly use Skype and other services to keep in touch visually. But the function is just getting started on mobile phones, at least in the U.S.,” Walter S. Mossberg reports for AllThingsD. “The biggest name so far pushing mobile video calling is Apple, which has introduced front-facing cameras and a free video calling service called FaceTime into its latest iPhones and iPod Touch models.”

“But a number of smaller companies are scrambling to provide free video calling between mobile phones, and this week I’ve been testing a new entry that aims to be more versatile, and almost as simple, as FaceTime. It’s called Tango, and comes from a year-old Silicon Valley start-up of the same name. Tango launches on Thursday. To use it, you download a free app from either Apple’s app store or the Android Market,” Mossberg reports. “In my tests, Tango worked as promised, and was simple to use. But the quality of its video calls was uneven, and only a few of my calls matched my best experiences with FaceTime, which, while hardly perfect, was better. “

Mossberg via Fox Business:

Direct link to video here.

Mossberg reports, “Tango isn’t as effortless as FaceTime on the iPhone 4, which is integrated right into the phone’s normal calling functions and contacts list, because it’s built by the phone’s maker… While Tango has potential, it needs some work if it is to be a big player in what I suspect will be a big, new use of smartphones.”

Full article, with Mossberg’s video report, here.

MacDailyNews Take: Third parties should concentrate their efforts elsewhere. FaceTime, via the sheer momentum of millions upon millions of iPhones, iPod touches, and, presumably sooner than later, iPads and Macs, will be the video calling standard. Not random company X’s kludge. FaceTime video and audio is already strong, clear, and drop dead simple to use; it will only get better as it becomes much more widespread. There’s no need for anyone to spin their wheels on reinventing this particular wheel, especially since FaceTime is based on extensive use of open technical standards and Apple intends to make FaceTime an open industry standard.