In the past days I’ve been playing with an alpha application for my Nokia N95 phone that really impresses me.
It’s called Qik and it live streams video from your phone to the web. After you’re done streaming, it keeps the video stored. You can leave your videos up on Qik, and also have them automatically put into your Seesmic account, and share a link to the footage in Twitter, via the options part of your profile.

My Qik profile page

Registering: your phone put in the centre
Registering for Qik was easy: leave your phone number on the site. I soon got an SMS inviting me to download and install Qik on my phone. Downloading didn’t start however. Some real time e-mail exchanges with the dev support people (Qik is California based) helped sort that out, by them adapting the download procedure right there and then. Once downloaded installing was easy, and ended with asking me to create a short video there and then. After making the video I received another SMS with the login info to the site.
I thought that was clever, as it makes sure only people who have installed the application as well as used it at least once, in the end have an active account. Certainly in an alpha testing phase that makes sense.

First user experiences
Streaming video works ok, primarily if you use a wifi connection on your phone. GPRS won’t cut it in terms of bandwidth, but faster internet connections on your phone do work. Although it delays the streaming a lot at this point. (Taking several minutes to stream a 50 second item). Streaming via wifi is indeed live streaming (with only seconds delay) and works the best by far.
Videos can be embedded of course (as a channel too), linked to directly and also downloaded.

Like I said, the videos get piped into Seesmic as well, if you wish

Other products in the same field
Qik of course is not the only one looking into live streaming video from your phone. There are more.
For instance there is Livecastr (described here on TechCrunch) which is Amsterdam based (and hence generated my interest). Their site however feels all wrong to me (no community, no interaction, just promotion, it looks fake), and the number of questions I needed to answer to register for a beta were a fatal put-off. Especially unanswerable (in some meaningful way at least) questions like “Which community site are you member?” (even ignoring the english) and “How do you plan to use LiveCastr” (emphasis mine) which to me shows a complete lack of understanding in how people acquire and explore the use of a new tool they never saw before. Especially if asked before even seeing anything of the tool. Ask me after having tested something for a while, not at a point where it only serves as a barrier to entry.
And there is Sweden based, which looks a whole lot better on their site than LiveCastr. Haven’t got an invitation to test yet, though. Looking forward to have a closer look at them soon.