Vringo 2.0: Crisper video-ringtone quality, UI

We get an exclusive first look at Vringo's updated app for creating personalized video ringtones that announce your call.

Vringo 2.0 on Sony Ericsson

Vringo's video-ringtone service has been on our radar for well over a year, and the company's fun and unusual product is just getting better and better. The release of Vringo Mobile Application 2.0, with its full-featured client for Java phones, makes up for the slight disappointment of the online video-ringtone-creation studio.

Vringo capitalizes on the fever of personalized media by letting you create a video ringtone that others see when you call them--so long as they're Vringo users, too*. When another Vringo user calls you, you'll see the ringtone they selected for themselves.

Giving people power over the sounds and images that announce themselves to friends is a twist on the usual ringtone deal, and--so long as you don't have obnoxious taste in videos-- is a cute way to express yourself.

Vringo's newly updated mobile app, available this week exclusively from CNET Download.com, makes selecting new video ringtones from the video gallery much more visual; you'll be able to quickly see thumbnail images of a video and view a preview before downloading it to the phone. On phone models running the Java 8 operating system, both previews and videos run in higher resolution.

Be forewarned that if your data connection is less than optimal, loading video previews can take some time. We hope the next version will pick up the pace in that department.

Vringo has also fluffed up its buddy-management system, adding an all-new Share button on the main interface and a few more prompts to invite buddies into the fold. The Share button, in particular, serves existing users well and is another outlet for Vringo to recruit new clients. No Vringo app, no quirky video ringtone.

The rest of the app looks good, too, with straightforward navigation and the ability to immediately access, scroll through, and preview videos in your collection without resetting them. Our favorite extra? Being able to upload your own cell phone video to your video collection.

Vringo logo

Pricing and availability
Vringo Mobile Application 2.0 is a free download, as are the contents of its video gallery. At some point, Vringo will adopt a freemium model and sell premium video content, which has been the plan since its early beta days.

Version 2.0 is currently available for Sony Ericsson phones, with compatibility for a greater number of Java-enabled models projected to join the ranks in about three weeks. At that time, a Symbian S60 build should also materialize. You're still able to get version 1 of Vringo's mobile app until then.

*If you're using a Sony Ericsson phone running the Java 7 operating system, you'll also see your own Vringo ringtone play back silently when you call a pal.

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.