In today’s digital world, keeping in touch is often done far more in text than face to face or over the phone. While sending a text message is great to convey a brief sentiment, there are often times when a more detailed text conversation is desired or required. In these cases, an app that allows the user to enter a chat with the person or people they are talking to is an ideal solution. Instant messaging is hardly a new concept- it became popular during the early days of AOL and has remained a fixture in the digital lives of many people.
However, with portable devices such as smartphones and tablets becoming the norm for those who rely on tech for their daily communication, app developers have gotten wise and created chatting applications that enable users to chat with friends and family easily.
Beejive IM is easily one of the most popular instant messaging apps available to smartphone and tablet users. Not only is the interface easy to understand, but the app is reliable, suffering few crashes and allowing a wide variety of customization options. Backgrounds can be changed as often as is desired to a picture, wallpaper or other image. Chat bubbles can also be customized in style and color. It allows users to share photos and uses the same push notifications native to other iOS messaging applications. Additionally, it offers support for AIM, Facebook chat, Google Talk, Jabber, MSN, Myspace IM and Yahoo! Messenger. It is available from the iTunes store for $9.99.
Much like Beejive, eBuddy Pro offers the ability to connect to a multitude of instant messaging accounts through one platform. With the use of this app, users can also connect to their friends on ICQ and Hyve. While eBuddy Pro does have fewer customization options than Beejive, it still features the use of themes, the ability to share pictures and the convenience of push notifications. The basic client is available from the iTunes store for $4.99, half the price of Beejive, but a free and ad-supported version is also available for use.
IM+ is another extremely popular app for iOS users which boasts many of the same features as both Beejive and eBuddy Pro. Access to multiple instant messaging accounts including AIM, MSN, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, Myspace IM and ICQ are available as are the use of Twitter, Jabber and Skype. Themes, push notifications and a stored advanced chat history are also available with IM+. While the client retails for $9.99 from the iTunes Store, like eBuddy Pro, it also has a lite version for those who would prefer not to purchase. One thing to consider with IM+ is that both Skype and Twitter do have their own free applications for communication and feed view.
Unlike the previous applications, IMO Messenger offers the ability for cross platform instant messaging for free. The app offers multiple protocols, multimedia attachments, push notifications, can be used in landscape mode, chat history, group chats, voice messages and calls, emoticons and the ability to connect to other users through AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, Hyve, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Myspace, Skype, VKontakte, Steam and Yahoo. For the low, low price of free, this remarkably battery-light app is quickly gaining popularity with users.
Like IMO, Nimbuzz offers free cross platform instant messaging support, however for fewer platforms. Facebook, Yahoo Messenger, MSN and Google Talk are supported. Free video and HD calls over 3G, 4G and WiFi are available as is free SMS messaging. One benefit of using Nimbuzz is that in addition to being free, it is also supported by iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Java, Windows and Mac.