Shape Services released their version 2 upgrade for IM+ All-in-One Mobile Messenger. Those of you who are Facebook users may want to have a look for the newly integrated Facebook chat capabilities. Especially noteworthy is the way IM+ integrates their brand of push notifications which allow you to shut down their chat program and still retrieve chat requests forwarded via email.
I’m not a big chat user so the ability to log off chat and continue to receive incoming chat alerts via email is a huge benefit for me. And these push notifications work for any of the chat clients IM+ supports (AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, Google, Jabber, ICQ, MySpace and Facebook). Here’s a quick look at the new IM+ All-in-One Messenger for iPhone version 2.
As noted previously, all the major IM clients are presented (save for Skype which is sold by Shape Services separately as IM+ for Skype)
Account setup for each is simple — supply your login and password. IM+ configures everything else for you. There are no individual service setup options. All other options that you set for IM+ are global.
Here are the available global options for IM+.
The only additional option I wish were included was an ability to group my contacts by service (for example to have all my Facebook contacts in one group, all my Google in another). The IM+ for BlackBerry DOES have this option. I’d love to see Shape add it in the future to the iPhone version.
Can’t wait for Apple’s own Push Notification services which are promised for iPhone OS 3 this summer? Shape Services offers this feature in their IM+ program. They do this by monitoring your IM accounts for incoming chats even when you’re offline. When they detect a chat request they send a response (user definable) and forward the chat request to your email. Brilliant!
Here’s the screen where you setup push notifications within IM+. This is my favorite feature.
Push notifications are a global option – either you have push enabled for all services or none.
Notice how you can set the period of time that IM+ will stay logged in remotely for you watching for incoming messages. Available time periods are 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 6 hours, 12 hours, 1 day, 3 days).
You can set a custom message as well to announce to your chat buddies why you may be delayed responding to them. This is all user definable.
When notifications came into email – I was able to reply (via email) and carry on a chat with one of my contacts. Very cool!
Entering chat messages during testing was fast. I did not notice any lag and response to keystrokes was nearly instant.
The keyboard works in both portrait.
I found that portrait worked best for me because it shows more of the chat on screen.
Rotating the screen automatically brings you to horizontal or portrait. In my testing this movement was smooth, fast — and most importantly never crashed once.
You can integrate the full range of smilies into your chat.
As well as send pictures, voice messages and your location.
These multi-media items even work through Facebook chat – though the user is presented with a link to click.
IM+ All-in-One Mobile Messenger version 2 is available now in the App Store for $9.99. If you’re a Facebook user – this is a must have program. If you’re an instant messaging user – you’ll wonder how you lived without push notification for IM.
There’s very little that I could find wrong. The App Store listed quite a few mixed reviews however those primarily seem to be related to older versions of the program and the new version 2 reviewed here seems to be gathering lots of praise. In a few days of testing I didn’t see any hint of instability or bugginess. The program was solid and fast.
For $9.99 this is a bargain and exceeds all other IM programs that I could find via the inclusion of both push notifications (which worked flawlessly for me) and Facebook chat.
What I Like:
- Facebook chat integration
- Push email notifications
- Simple setup
- Great feature set for both novices and power users
What Could Be Improved:
- Allow for grouping of contacts by service
- Allow for setting Facebook status (currently limited to “online”, “away”, “invisible”, “offline”
- Create your own IM groups on the iPhone – the program only allows for importing groups from your desktop IM client