I came to instant messaging (IM) late by many web worker’s standards. Spending time on some locked-down client sites meant that IM was never part my communications toolbox. However, when I started working with ISP and telecom clients, everybody wanted my IM details. At the time, I settled on Trillian because it supported multiple IM protocols, so I didn’t have to keep switching clients to communicate with clients and project team members.
Now that I am getting to grips with my new iPhone 3Gs, I have been looking for an IM client for it. The good news is that Trillian for the iPhone is now available ($3.99 from the iTunes App Store) — and it’s good enough for me to come back to Trillian, at least on my iPhone.
If you aren’t a Trillian user (or drifted away to other clients, like I did), you’ll have to sign up for a Trillian Astra account after you install Trillian on your iPhone. This is a Trillian-specific account. Then setting up your individual IM accounts is easily done by tapping on “Manage Connections.” Cerulean Studios, the team behind Trillian, provides a very intuitive interface for the application, which makes the setup quite easy even if you are brand new to the iPhone or iPod touch.
Trillian for the iPhone includes all of the features and management tools you’d expect in an IM application. It supports AIM, GTalk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, Jabber/XMPP, and MySpaceIM.
If you are like me and find IM to be a productivity distraction and like to manage your online presence judiciously, Trillian for the iPhone’s management features won’t disappoint you. I found the centralized status message controls very usable and convenient. Of course, you aren’t going to have a wide selection of status messages in this mobile application, but you probably aren’t going to need them anyway.
Instant messaging on the go for me is probably not going to be like text messaging — I’m not going to have the app open all the time, unlike a desktop client. I can imagine that IM on the iPhone is going to be useful for me when I might be on a client site and want to make myself accessible to friends and clients online for short IM chats. Another situation would be times like being out to lunch or when I am visiting family and need to be online to answer a client question.
When I was considering retiring my old BlackBerry and making the leap to the iPhone 3Gs, the virtual keyboard was a concern. However, I’ve found text messaging and now IM to be no problem — and I am a big guy by many people’s standards.
Using Trillian on the iPhone has been like coming back to where I started. In fact, I may even check out the Mac (now in beta) and PC clients to see what I’ve been missing.
Do you have an IM client on your iPhone? Which one do you use?