Foolproof app for video chat between a Samsung Galaxy Tab and an iPad?
March 27, 2013 3:25 PM   Subscribe

After a demonstration with Facetime, my dad would like to regularly video chat with his grandson. Grandson owns an iPad 2. I've tried to talk Dad into buying an iPad too but he's attracted to the lower price of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.

I'm getting mixed feedback on which app will allow easy and reliable video chatting between a Galaxy Tab and an iPad. Skype was my first thought, however according to Skype's support forums, video chat does not always work on Tabs due to reasons PEBKAC or otherwise.

Complications: Dad lives a three hour drive away and while as sharp as one can be at the age of 91, he's 91 (very hard of hearing, rather stubborn, while not a total tech newb he is new to both touch interfaces and Android UI as well as the whole concept of downloading applications as opposed to installing them from physical media). Assume any setup, troubleshooting and maintenance on his Galaxy will have to be performed by me long distance while shouting into the phone* and I do not own an Android device so that I might play along at home.

#1: Must have an analogous app that runs on iOS
Easy to obtain: should be available in a well known and trusted repository for Android apps, should not require my dad to enter his credit card number (he will not make purchases online, hardstop—if it does require payment, I need to be able to buy and gift credits to his account)
Easy to install: "Click this button to install this app onto your device"
Easy to set up: Default settings will allow the app to make video calls
Easy to maintain: Ideally, it just works now and forever more w/o trying to guess which permissions need to be granted or which settings need to be massaged
Inexpensive: App will have at most a 1x cost at purchase and no subscription fee for continuing access

*dear lord, just buy the iPad, Dad
posted by jamaro to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Google+ (Google Hangout app). It's what I use for this exact purpose with my mom. He will have to sign up for a google account if he doesn't have one already, but after that the Hangout should just work.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:29 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

Google hangout? Available via the Google+ app on iPad; I've actually never used hangout on Android but I have to assume it works. On preview, agree with rabbitrabbit.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 3:30 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Can you chip in a few bucks to make up the cost difference? Or buy him an iPad refurb as a gift?

In my experience, it's going to be much easier for you to troubleshoot things over the phone with an older relative if you've got an exact copy in front of you. Unless you're intimately familiar with whatever he ends up getting, I foresee many complications in your future.

Also, a tip. Things that might seem super obvious to you and me might be really opaque to him. Teaching my grandma to use Skype was difficult. Instructions like "click the little video camera icon" didn't work because she didn't read "square shape with a triangle shape" as a video camera.


Good luck!
posted by phunniemee at 3:34 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

The iPad Mini is $300 – seems to match the average price of a Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. That'll get you your foolproof video chatting and the price.
posted by ignignokt at 3:37 PM on March 27, 2013

How about an iPad mini? They don't cost much more than a similarly-sized Android tablet.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:38 PM on March 27, 2013

Buy him a refurb iPad 2 or an iPad Mini. I had a similar problem with my Dad, who stubbornly refused to buy anything Apple, and instead bought himself a Windows laptop that confused him. Eventually I bought him an iPad 2 as a birthday gift and he loves that thing to death. He even takes it to bed with him, so he can use it as he is falling asleep and then read the news when he wakes up in the morning. We use FaceTime every week so he can see his grandsons.
posted by Joh at 3:39 PM on March 27, 2013

So, if I could head off the "buy him an iPad"...I'd love to but I can't afford to (he certainly can though) and also, he's from old school Frugal Yankee stock and dismissed the Mini as "same price, half the size." He's clearly not seeing the $-hassle aspect but that's largely my own damn fault for providing him with long-distance Windows support for the past 20 years even though I've never owned a Windows box.

If we could stay focused on app suggestions, I'd appreciate it. I'd like to get additional app recommendations so if one doesn't work out for Reasons, I can try another.
posted by jamaro at 3:52 PM on March 27, 2013

Fring... ooVoo... Camfrog... there are so many of these apps, I really don't expect you'll have any trouble finding one that works well. I'd try G+ first though.
posted by kindall at 4:32 PM on March 27, 2013

No specific app recomendations but if you have access to a google account that's on his tablet you can install applications from the play store's website from your computer.

It helps with one of your steps.
posted by samhyland at 5:25 PM on March 27, 2013

Steve Jobs, before leaving, had promised an open FaceTime. Or did he?
Hope Cook keeps the promise.

G+ slows down my Android and Skype fries(not your option anyway).

Tango? Tried once. Not bad.
ooVoo? Never tried.
Viber, I heard, had added video chat. I have used only for voice and it was good.
posted by amar at 9:05 PM on March 27, 2013

I've used Tango and been happy with it fron android/ios video chat.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:08 AM on March 28, 2013

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