After encountering a half-zillion different IM clients the other week, we thought it might be prudent to throw them all in the ring together and see how they compare. It’s a beefy list, indeed… in terms of stand-alone clients, we have BlackBerry Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, and Google Talk. Among the multi-platform apps, we have Palringo, IM+, Mundu, Instango, JiveTalk, and WebMessenger.
After checking out the bundled BlackBerry Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, and Google Talk, there were some common features beyond straight-up communication: copying chat history, sending files, voice notes and pictures from the camera, and linking contacts to your BlackBerry’s address book. No matter what IM client you go by, these should be some of the things you’re looking for.
BlackBerry Messenger is the default chatting application that comes with your device, which is probably its biggest selling point. You know that everybody else who has a BlackBerry has the app loaded as well, making it a great common platform across companies which might restrict application loading. One thing that clunks up the IM process is requiring contacts in your address book before being able to load them into BlackBerry Messenger. There’s a [Use Once] field that lets you get around that, but greater independence from the Address Book would still be nice. Still, it’s a solid client, and I had used it well before dabbling in anything ported from the desktop.
Yahoo! Messenger is another bundled chat client, that shares the handiness of BlackBerry Messenger of popping up right in your Messages list with every incoming IM. Yahoo! offers a slightly fuller-bodied experience, with goodies like extra status types and profile pictures. If you already use Yahoo!, this is a solid way to go, and again, it’s hard to argue with pre-loaded software.