Windows Live Messenger for iPhone has many of the features we'd expect to see in an IM app, plus other social networking and e-mail extras. One screen is devoted to Windows Live, for example, offering space to update your status, follow friends in your network, and change your profile picture. A small button also take you into your e-mail in-box.
Mozilla released a minor update to its tabbed e-mail program Thunderbird 3 this week, in anticipation of the release of its next beta version.
Thunderbird 3.0.5 for Windows, Mac, and Linux includes several fixes to the user interface, improves message indexing and profile access on a network, and corrects an e-mail notification bug on Mac OS X.
Mozilla published a second release candidate for the next build of Thunderbird on Wednesday. Judging from the public bug list, only one critical bug kept Thunderbird 3.1 Release Candidate 2 from becoming the final build of the current branch, code-named Lanikai.
Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, this second release candidate fixes one critical bug on Macs, one major bug on all platforms, and three ''normal'' priority bugs. The now-fixed Mac bug had caused the open-source e-mail client to crash, and then crash again on subsequent launchings. The cross-platform, major-level bug repaired a settings migration assistant problem where the … Read more
As time ticked on in Steve Jobs' keynote at Monday's WWDC conference, we kept waiting for the Apple chief to showcase the iPhone 4's front-facing camera. When he finally did, it wasn't a Skype video conferencing app that many expected, but Apple's own software, called FaceTime.
FaceTime is built into the version 4 operating system that Apple is now calling iOS 4, since it powers the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Using the front-facing camera, two callers will be able to see and hear each other in a high-definition video call.
The good news is that FaceTime will require no setup, so firing up video chats should be intuitive even for VoIP novices. Here's the setback: at launch, FaceTime will run only over Wi-Fi, and only on the iPhone 4.
We understand that hardware and software requirements like a front-facing camera and HD video recorder would cause Apple to limit FaceTime calls to between iPhone 4 phones, but we are surprised that Apple isn't taking advantage of 3G calling, particularly since it's been six months since the company allowed third-party developers to add 3G calls to VoIP apps.
The bigger question on our minds, however, is just how big a blow FaceTime will deliver to Skype and other competing VoIP services.… Read more
A new instant messaging app is on its way to BlackBerry smartphones, and it's name is Trillian.
Trillian-maker Cerulean Studios announced work on its BlackBerry beta in May, adding one more operating system for the multinetwork IM app that's already well-known on Windows, Mac, and more recently, on iPhone. Although we expect to see Trillian launch into public beta for BlackBerry phones running OS 5.x, we got to try it out this week.
The app closely resembles the screens we saw from the closed beta (see slideshow below). Trillian lets you quickly sign into accounts from a start screen, and gets you chatting with friends on MSN, Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, MySpaceIM, Facebook Chat, Jabber/XMPP, and Google Talk.
The feature set is basic at this point--not so unusual for a beta app. It can display avatar images, add emoticons, and send photos that you either grab from the image gallery or take fresh with your phone's camera. The app alerts you to new instant messages with a flashing LED light or with pushed e-mail alerts when the app is closed.
Trillian beta is easy enough to use, but not very elegant at this stage. You control the app with the BlackBerry's Back arrow and menu key, but unlike competitors, Trillian doesn't utilize a lot of on-screen buttonry. For example, competitors like Beejive do a better job alerting you to new IMs and who sent them, and makes switching among conversations possible from within open chat windows. Instead of being able to switch among open chats with a menu item, Trillian has you arrowing back to the buddy list and navigating to the developing conversation.… Read more
There's just one catch: Skype's 3G calling is only on a trial basis for now. In early 2011, the VoIP company will levy a "small monthly fee," the amount of which remains undecided for now, according to online reports. Skype has not yet released information explaining how they'll charge for the service, but we're guessing subscribers will sign up through in-app purchasing.
Skype 2.0 for iPhone in a 3G voice test
I made some Skype calls over 3G to test out the sound quality while walking outside in a residential neighborhood and placing a call to Skype on an indoor PC. Call quality was strong during our test call, and we noticed that a call quality indicator on the app interface popped up to alert us to changes in service when we hit AT&T disruptions. The alert was useful, but only because I had turned on speakerphone to keep my eyes on the app. Had I pressed the iPhone to my ear or had the screen dimmed, a visual pop-up would have had little effect managing my expectations.… Read more
iPhone users will finally be able to take advantage of Skype 2.0, with 3G calling, according to a report. But after August they'll have to pay for the privilege of Skype-to-Skype calls with the new service.
Gizmodo reported the iPhone-ready service and a "small monthly fee" associated with it (along with operator charges for data). Gizmodo also noted that upgrades include near CD-quality sound for Skype-to-Skype calls, faster start-up time, a better call-quality indicator, and quick access to the dial pad via the iPhone home screen.
A Thursday update to Fring for Android 2.1 adds free video chatting as a method for reaching out. You'll recognize it by the blue icon of a camcorder now sitting alongside a chat bubble and telephone image when you tap a contact's name to initiate a conversation. As far as we know, this is a first for Android telephony.
Of course, there are a handful of caveats any … Read more
The latest version of Mozilla's e-mail client is just about ready for public use, as the software publisher releases the first release candidate for Thunderbird 3.1, codenamed Lanikai. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Thunderbird 3.1 RC 1 makes few changes to from the previous Thunderbird beta. The new quick filter bar has added contact, tag, and attachment support, as well as the ability to pin a filter even as you switch folders. A far more minor tweak, folders with new messages are now highlighted by default in blue, instead of black.
Plenty of people like to demonize Microsoft, but the company is capable of doing the right thing, too, even if that might not help its bottom line. A case in point: giving away the keys that had locked up customers' own Outlook records.