For years now I’ve been standing firm by the pocket pc platform. In countless ways I think it is the way of the future for not only one’s phone, but the one device that we all carry around that does it all. I’m very pleased to say the platform has proven this time and time again. But there’s one grey area that just seems to be left in limbo with the improvements of everything else. This is IM! Back when I upgraded to my Cingular 8125 from my ipaq, I remember having the feeling something was missing. I had this new phone that could do it all, but it just wasn’t able to do it all correct, so I sought out on a search to find that perfect im app.
This was back in the days when agile was still in beta and was free. Aside from the ugly aim app that I had to download from the .uk site, this was pretty much the only option. But it was okay, it was a very good option. As time passed a few more came out, IM+ was around as well and a few other lack luster apps. I do remember paying for IM+ but wasn’t very happy with the UI and the way it worked with the soft keys so I kinda stuck to agile.
Then I got a whole of my 8525 when I came out. So I had this phone that could do it all (lol again) now with 3g included….and I still didn’t have an IM app to my liking. Agile and IM+ really started to look bad. Not to mention these were the days of the sidekicks! As much as I hate those things, one has to admit, they do what they’re supposed to do very well. The thing that really wowed me about the sidekick was its ability to switch to sms messenger for the aim when you’re on the phone. This was pure genius. It allowed you to stay connected while on the phone or not. Well….luckily we had a solution for that. It was called verichat.
Verichat had an option to enter your sms address and it would send you the messages via text if you were to be disconnected from the internet. This was all well and good, even though it worked…it was very slow. Not to mention the UI of the app itself was kinda slow as well…so I often got frustrated. So it’s about a year later and we have a few new comers. Among them are mundu, octrotalk and the latest and greatest palringo.
Once again I find myself paying for apps I’m not entirely happy with (no ones fault but myself.) But the life time membership for mundu wasn’t bad…it was only $11. Mundu has a very clean and welcome UI. Its features are definitely up to snuff, but it’s still missing what I think should be the basics. But overall this is a very good app. Octrotalk is still in beta….and by its rights a very good app. Even though I think the UI could use some polish and it’s still missing the “basics.” Now for my favorite of the bunch….palringo. This one is a almost a entire entity on its own, that just supports IM clients. The UI isn’t as pretty as mundu, but it’s still polished and the feature set is great….especially its support for push to talk and image I’m. But again….the basic.
What are these basics I keep rambling on about? Well…for one…lets start with displaying your contacts buddy icons. It kills me that none of these apps allow me to see my contacts buddy icons…and what’s even more annoying, I can’t set a custom pic for my icon in any app. This is such a huge feature and it needs these developers urgent attention. 2. I’d like to see support for fonts and colors. I should be able to import my favorite font to the phone and set size and color to be displayed to my contact when I’m in a conversation. Mundu touched on this a little but not enough. 3. Being able to read contacts away messages. Mundu and octrotalk does this but palringo does not….this should be a no brainier. 4. Just make it simple to navigate….there should be no reason I should have to take out the stylus. I should be able to scroll my list, start convos, switch between them, set custom away messages send images, so on and so forth with the soft keys.
Im not a developer, but I do know these few improvements shouldn’t be hard to accomplish. These are all standard on all desktop IM programs, other mobile platforms (like the sidekick and the iphone) and even web2 based sites (like meboo.com) And even if they’re difficult to develop….so what! Developers need to stop being lazy and get it done. I don’t care of if I have to pay $50 for the app. What really kills me inside is how the iphone came out, and within a few weeks it had 7 different I’m clients most of which had the basics down pat. Why does it take us 4 years in the ppc community? And we’re still not there yet. Anyone else feel this way? Is anyone out there listening???????