Fire★ will keep track of your contacts and manage the hard parts of p2p programming like UDP hole punching and keeping connections going. There is also a built in application editor where you can pair-program with others in real time.
You can think of it as an extensible Skype, where the modes of real time interaction are defined by the users and not the engineers.
Yes, you can use it for text chat. Yes, you can transfer files with it. Yes, you can do voice chat. Yet none of these things are “built” in features.
However, It Sucks
However, the text chat is terrible compared to Skype. The voice chat isn’t that great, and doesn’t filter out nearly enough noise. The white boarding app is stupid simple and can’t compete with other Skype like applications like Lync. Most of the example apps are just toys and nothing serious has been built with it. In many respects, Fire★ is technically inferior to Skype. It is more difficult to use and not as pretty. There is no support for video yet. There is no phone support. And it probably crashes more often.
But my Software is infinitely better than Skype.
It is infinitely better in a way Skype will never be because it is Free Software. The source code is available under GPL on GitHub.
You can read it and know what it is doing. You can change it for the better. And you know it isn’t spying on you. You have freedoms using it that Skype will never give you, and in this way it is infinitely better.
So far there have been only two contributors to this project. I don’t expect it to ever have more because the median amount of contributors to a Free Software or Open Source project is one.
I am a realist. It will never be better than Skype for communication and features. It doesn’t have a multi billion dollar company behind it. However, I still consider it a success because it will benefit whoever uses it in a way that Skype can’t.