IM photos and videos from phone to phone

Fring users on Symbian phones can now swap photos, music, and videos in addition to call, twitter, and IM.

Fring logo

If IMing friends from mobile to mobile is faster and cheaper than sending SMS messages, then IMing photos, videos, and music clips is even better.

Fring announced this week an update to its Symbian 9.1 and Symbian 9.2 offerings (sorry, Windows Mobile) that lets registered members swap files. This is the first I've heard of file-sharing from any mobile IM service, though saving the best perks for members is common to others, like EQO, that have far grander ambitions than simple all-in-one chat.

Swap photos, images, and music with fring
Share photo and videos files with fring friends.

Much like file-sharing from desktop chat apps, fring (it really is lower-case) files ride the Wi-Fi, 3G, GSM, GPRS, or EDGE wave between phones, but for fringsters only. Fring will ferry files over to the computer, too, via an Internet connection and MSN. Fring's neat, attractive offering clearly shows the direction in which mobile phones are headed: away from syncing, MMS, e-mailing a file to a middleman uploading service, and pushing media to a Web site. Though fring doesn't yet offer any of those forms of mass socializing, it does share media on an exclusive, individual level that's a good choice for users who prefer their privacy, and who can also convince their friends to use one more social service.

If that's not enough fringing for you, fring friends can stalk you through a fringME! widget you embed on a Web site, blog, or profile, which will disclose your whereabouts and give buddies an easy way to chat from their desktops. The updated Symbian version also uses its artificial noodle to determine which one of seven languages the user may need, and install accordingly.

Windows Mobile users (review) can still make free international calls to other fring members, IM through major chat networks, use Skype, and read and update Twitter.

The fring application is free to download from the PC or over the air, though carrier charges apply. If you're planning to try fring and don't have an unlimited data plan yet, now's the time to upgrade.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.