Familiar feel

Yahoo Messenger smoothly makes the jump to the iPhone and iPod Touch in this mobile imagining of Yahoo's desktop Messenger.

Yahoo Messenger smoothly makes the jump to the iPhone and iPod Touch in this mobile imagining of Yahoo's desktop Messenger. In preserving core chatting features, the application shoots off IM and SMS messages, stashes key emoticons, encourages status updates, adds new contacts, and shares photos you've either stored on the camera roll, or have taken fresh through the iPhone's onboard lens.

Yahoo Messenger's clean, crisp iPhone app delivers notifications of new incoming chats while you're in a different conversation window, in addition to alerting you on a separate messaging screen. When a new message arrives, the app sounds the familiar Yahoo ping and buzzes to get your attention when the screen goes dark; however, we don't see a way to turn that off in the Settings menu.

Here are two other iPhone-specific tricks--the chat app flips over to landscape mode for horizontal conversating, and incorporates the iPhone's spell check. While mostly good for fat-fingered typos, the spell check feature is less convenient when you realize the words "hee hee" have been translated as "her her." The digital brains may have some catching up to do.

While Apple's 2.0 firmware will keep the app from running in the background on the iPhone, Yahoo does the next best thing by keeping you signed in, but idle, for 10 minutes while you're off playing with other apps. At the 'time's up,' you'll need to log in anew to continue chatting, and again if you switch back to your desktop Messenger. While you'll certainly recognize the difference between the two applications, Yahoo's successful capture of the desktop client's look and feel bring a rich IM experience to Apple's famous devices.

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