Instant Messaging (IM) has always been one of the most popular applications on the internet. Initially made popular on the computer, this form of real time communication has found an obvious wide audience in the mobile world. Here we will discuss the chat clients that can be found in Apple’s AppStore.
AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) was born 11 years ago and is mainly popular in the States (over 100 million users). The iPhone version is substantially different from the one you’ve probably seen on a computer, but it does the job and lets you chat with other AIM users.
You can view your buddy list and rearrange the entries in groups or separate them as favorites. Unfortunately, you cannot manage a friend request. The parts of your profile which can be edited are the picture, the text which appears under your name and the status (available, not available, invisible). We liked the way the messages arrange during a conversation; in contrast to the PC version, here if write a few lines, they will be under one name. There’s no option to send sounds or images, which is quite annoying, because this feature is available on other phones. Overall, we recommend trying some of the other multifunctional clients mentioned below in the article, due to the limited capabilities of the official AIM app.
If you are looking for a program that connects to not only Yahoo! Messenger but also various other social networks, you’ll love oneConnect!. It will allow you to keep an eye on your Facebook, Flickr, Last.fm, Twitter, Bebo, Dopplr, MySpace and YouTube accounts. Information from all accounts are found on the same home screen, and in order to edit your profile, you have to logon to the site of the account. This means closing the chat client though, which is very annoying.
As an IM client, oneConnect! performs satisfactory. The chat window looks good and lets you add emoticons (a big variety),pictures and links. The last ones are opened with Safari, closing the IM application at the same time, which is quite inconvenient but required since the iPhone does not allow anything but music to run in the background. A wonderful extra is the detailed log of the conversations. The contacts are divided by the first letter, and there’s a search feature as well. Despite handling other social networking accounts, oneConnect! can only be used for chat via Yahoo! Messenger.
If you are using many chat clients IM+ is a likely client for you. It supports AIM, Yahoo!, MSN, Google Talk, Jabber, ICQ and MySpace. Here however, the quality has suffered, because of the multiple messengers, making IM+ one of the worst IM clients for iPhone. There’s no search for the contacts and we were frustrated by having to rummage through all of them. The chat window is very clear but doesn’t offer any extras like avatars or the ability to send pictures.
You could still live with all that if you need that many different clients, but the application itself is not stable with frequent blockings and self-terminations. Despite the myriad of client support, these annoying drawbacks lead us to not recommend IM+.
This is another multifunctional IM client supporting MSN, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, Gadu-Gadu, ICQ, Jabber, Google Talk, iChat, as its own service Palringo, for which registration is mandatory. It’s done very quickly and afterwards you will be able to chat with the funny bot Samantha.
The application is very user-friendly with one tab for the account and change of the nick/status and others for the contacts and groups. The chat window offers emoticons, voice messages and pictures, which in case that your collocutor is using the same client appear directly on the screen (otherwise as a link). Palringo lets you open web pages without having to close it first, which is an excellent extra. Taking advantage of the iPhones powerful and fluid graphics, if you are engaged in multiple conversations you can jump between them by swiping your finger across the screen. We like Parlingo very much and we consider it one of the best and most convenient client, which is available at the App Store-a.