Meerkat (for iPhone and Android)

The story of Meerkat seems like a familiar one. The app, which lets users quickly and easily create live video streams from their Android and iOS devices, gained enormous buzz when it was first launched. People loved it, people hated it, people loved to hate it. SXSW is involved. It was, for a brilliant moment, a big deal.

But now, after a very public falling out with Twitter, and the aforementioned company's launch of its own live streaming app, Periscope, Meerkat's luster has worn off. While it still works well, and is quite intuitive, it cannot compete with Periscope, which is more polished and offers critical features Meerkat simply lacks.

When Meerkat first launched, it was iPhone-only. As was Periscope. Thankfully, Meerkat recently released its Android version. To start streaming with Meerkat, just download the app from Google Play, and log in using your Twitter account. Meerkat then prompts you to confirm your phone number via a text message, but I was surprised to find that this step was merely optional after a few failed attempts.

But Periscope isn't just a pretty face. It's tight integration with Twitter works to its advantage, and its ability to save streams—both locally and to the cloud for replay—give it a distinct advantage over Meerkat, which is limited to the moment. When placed head to head, I say Periscope is the live streaming app to use. Keep it if a particular celebrity piques your interest and exclusively uses Meerkat. I'll be keeping an eye on Meerkat, but the wind seems to have shifted against it for now.


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