iPhone: Instant Messenger Apps

By popular demand, a review of Instant Messenger services for the iPhone—and how to get the most bang for your buck.

For those of us with iPhones, it might be good idea to install an IM service in the event that your AT&T service craps out on you. There are many IM apps available that support a variety of platforms as well as push notification—yes, including some free ones—but it may be a wise investment to spring for the pricey ones. Annie Gaus explains why.

Beejive allows you to stay logged in for up to 7 days and features a pleasing interface that looks exactly like your iPhone's native SMS. It also supports a variety of languages and allows you to send hyperlinks, photos, video and voice notes in your IMs.

IM+ boasts virtually all of the same features as Beejive, but the UI feels a bit clunky by comparison and is rumored to have bugs, according to some iTunes reviewers. On the other hand, it supports more accounts than Beejive and also features a built in browser that may be helpful for heavy IM users.

Palringo Lite, the free version of Palringo, has only one advantage over the first two: it's free. However, the contacts list and chat interface contribute to a a cluttered and sometimes buggy experience. Palringo Lite may work for the occasional IMer, but if you IM frequently it may be well worth it to shell out for one of the paid services.

If you plan on using IM as a substitute for texting—perhaps to save on your monthly bill—we recommend either Beejive or IM+. The reviewer prefers Beejive, but encourages you to take a closer look at the features of each before spending that ten bucks!

Review by: Annie Gaus