Developer: Palringo
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Palringo is the first multi-platform instant messaging client to be released in the iPhone OS App Store. While it’s launch had some server capacity issues, those seem to have been resolved and the application is actually usable now.

To start to use Palringo you will need to create an account on their web site.  Luckily this can be done via Mobile Safari.  While I haven’t been able to get confirmation of this, I assume the reason for this is that all communication with the messaging services goes through their server as this is common for mobile IM clients. This may or may not be an issue for you as the security of third party servers is always in question.

Once your account is created and verified you can finally log into the software.  Initially you will only have access to the Palringo network and chat rooms (Palringo Communities).  The chat rooms can be interesting, when you find one with other people in it (try the iPhone one).

But the use that most people are looking for are the IM services.  Palringo does support the most popular ones: Apple’s iChat, AOL’s AIM, Google Talk, XMPP / Jabber, Yahoo! Messenger, Gadu Gadu, ICQ, and Windows Live Messenger.  But, how do you add the services.  It honestly took me 5 minutes to figure that out.  To add another service, click on the small Palringo logo in the top navigation bar — don’t confuse that with the large Palringo logo at the bottom of the screen. Then click the Edit button, then Add (+) button and follow the prompts.  Once you are there it’s pretty easy but what an odd interface design option to have 2 buttons with the same graphic on it.

Once things are set up to your liking, Palringo is fairly easy, though buggy to use. I had the application die on me multiple times. In addition you will notice that the interface is very slow at times. Though it generally catches up without issue.

While Palringo is the first multi-IM client for the iPhone OS App Store, I hope it’s not the best.  I would only call it a moderatly useful client. Palringo suffers from the same problem that all IM clients will have until the Notification Service is released by Apple in the fall, lost connections.  When you leave the application or turn off your phone you will lose connection and no longer be able to get messages.  This seriously limits the usability of IM on the iPhone OS.

Palringo though is getting a head start at the game.  They will undoubtedly update their app for the notification service once that’s available.  For now I can only give it 2 stars and it’s needs lots of work and lacks usefulness until it is updated to utilize the notification service.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews, Social Networking

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