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Mobile IM October 9, 2006

Posted by mark in : General, Telecoms, Wireless , trackback

Martin Geddes (-ve) and Paul Golding (+ve) have a couple of good and contrasting posts about mobile instant messaging, compared with texting (SMS)

My Treo smartphone and multiprotocol IM application give me an atypical experience …eg. My SMS conversations do have a visible chat session (and are threaded by person); and a PC client doesn’t flag up that I’m a “mobile” IM user

I hardly ever use mobile IM. My current situation seems to be :

I tried to check some of these things over the weekend, but couldn’t get my IM application to connect


1. Ivan - 14/10/2006

I occasionally use IM on my mobile (Treo600). I use AgileMessenger to provide access to most of the IM networks (fragmentation of the Y!M/MSN-M/AIM/gtalk etc networks is a real pain).

I have occasional success with this, but frequently I have sent messages and other people’s responses never get to me, which obviously makes these conversations non-existant.

Assuming “mobile IM” worked properly, it has a benefit for the person on the computer (not requiring his telephone to beep like crazy, and not requiring him to use a phone keyboard). The subsequent benefit for the mobile user is that he is more likely to get a response (some of my friends are extremely terse in SMS messages because of the difficulty in using the keypad/keyboard on a mobile). This means that a text-type (near-real-time) conversation can take place that otherwise may not have.

A mobile-phone screen is not very good for IM usage due to the resolution (and also the size), but that is not necessarily a reason not to consider IM for the right reasons. If you downright ignore IM for mobile, you should definitely ignore Windows-based mobiles – they appear to turn your mobile into an unstable palm-top, destabilising telephony usage aswell!

With regards to the Treo’s SMS “chat” sessions – these are nice, as they allow you to keep track of previous conversations with someone (all in a single “chat” though).

However, the biggest pain comes if you want to delete any messages in an SMS “chat” session (eg return receipts or other unwanted messages) – you can either delete the whole chat session or nothing. The other pain is that you cannot save them in a nice format (eg on the computer) and they are ring-buffers so, once they have got to a particular size, you lose the start of the conversation.

2. Mark Beveridge » Twitter - 1/4/2007

[...] My first (and still clearest) thought was that Twitter acts as a ‘presence’ indicator like IM does, but SMS doesn’t, and gives the security of knowing what your group/ tribe is doing by continuous partial attention …and Liz Lawley [Many2Many] seems to agree. The convention of short (up to 140 characters), occasional, messages allows mobile users to participate more equally, because it doesn’t try to replace IM conversations, where mobile (SMS) users are disadvantaged by connectivity, typing speed, expense, etc. [Around the time that Twitter launched, there was discussion about whether mobile IM app’s would succeed SMS, and a planned telco IM platform (to compete with Y!M, MSN, AOL, etc).] [...]