If you peer into the bucket of popular consumer requests, the #1 most requested software solution you’ll find is unified instant messaging. Last year, I reported on the future releases of instant messaging clients for MSN, AOL and ICQ from Research In Motion, although there has been no information on client availability for these individual networks.
To date, the instant messaging sector has been the most competitive third-party development market for the BlackBerry operating system, with solutions available from SHAPE Services, WebMessenger, Yak-On, and many others. With each available application, there have been inherent flaws, be it a subscription-based pricing structure, resource-intensive battery usage, hefty price tags for a consumer application, or continual interruptions in service.
The release of the Yahoo! Messenger client has spoiled most of us who use it. Not only is it perhaps the best user interface on the market, but it’s stability is untouched. RIM showed us the ability to balance network and application stability with an appealing interface and a price tag that all of us could afford. Now, it’s time for RIM to follow up their all-star performance with the release of a unified client that will handle the Yahoo!, AOL/AIM, and MSN networks, possibly more.
* Note: This unified messaging functionality is currently available with the use of BlackBerry Enterprise Server 4.1, Enterprise Messenger, Live Communications Server (LCS), and Microsoft Public IM Connectivity (PIC). Not to take away from the standard consumer, but this solution would likely be available to corporations only. It would be nice if the hosted BES companies started offering this particular solution, though.