If you’re a smartphone user with a thing for video chatting, you might be aware of the popular multiplatform video calling/IM client Fring. While Fringland’s prized video chat client allows users to indulge in high quality group video calling with as many as three of their friends at a time, Playgrounds – a brand new IM client by the same developers – lets you search for and connect with all Playgrounds users so that you can expand your network of friends and join worldwide video calling groups in the same four-way video chat provided by Fring. Likewise, Playgrounds users can also call their contacts on their cell phone number or chat with them through text. Playgrounds offers quality data (voice/video) transmission over 3G/4G networks and Wi-Fi.
Once done with installation, just launch Playgrounds on your device, log in with a valid Playgrounds ID or setup a new (free) account from the Create account screen.
Once logged in, you’ll see a lot of activity on the app’s home screen, with new Playgrounds (users) being added to the network almost every other minute – literally. It’s that popular among fans! The app lets you create your own Playgrounds, set your ‘Mood’ (status) and invite friends to join in the fun. You can also search for Playgrounds users from all across the globe or simply tap on the name of any Playground user from the app’s home screen and start sharing the fun via video call.
To create your own Playground, just tap the plus (+) button on the app’s home screen, type in a preferred name for your Playground and select Go. Your Playground is now live and is visible to all Playgrounds users. To view and access your Playgrounds, just tap Menu > My Playgrounds and select a Playground of your choice. To access the list of all your Playgrounds friends, tap on the button on the top-right of the app’s home screen. Select a friend, view his/her profile and select whether you want to start a call, video call, chat or group video session.
The video call interface of Playgrounds is similar to the one you’re so used to seeing in Fring, with the screen split into four tiles, each displaying an active participant. From the video chat screen, you can add friends (3 maximum) to the group. To search/add a new participant, tap on the add participant button on the bottom-left of the screen. You can also ban a participant or add him/her to your friends list by tapping on his/her video tile. The app allows you to switch between the rear and front camera and between the loudspeaker and headset. To end an ongoing video call, just tap on the big red disconnect button on the screen.
And that’s not all. The app comes with a new privacy filter that allows users to be only partially visible to other users in a Playground.
Calls to all your Playgrounds friends via Playgrounds (over an internet/Bluetooth connection) are absolutely free. However, to make international calls to cell phones and landline numbers via Playgrounds, you must provide your international phone number and purchase fringOut credits. You can also chat with your Playgrounds friends through text. Texting is free and there is no restriction on the character count with your text/chat messages in Playgrounds. You can also start a phone call or group video chat from within the chat screen. App’s Activity log keeps you alert of all your (and your friends’) Playgrounds activities. Just tap on Menu > Activity log to launch the Playgrounds activity screen. Additionally, the app displays notifications for all your Playgrounds alerts.
Download Playgrounds by Fring for Android
Update: The app seems to have been taken off the Google Play Store.