With all the hubbub of the holidays and the ensuing CES trade show, a nifty multiprotocol chat client flew right under my radar. Imo.im recently released free apps for Android and iOS devices, allowing users to instant message friends on a variety of networks from one clean and simple interface. Luckily, the company followed up with some additional news that made it through the inbox flurry: the apps now also support voice chat, allowing users to record and send up to 30-second audio messages.
While voice chat is certainly a nifty feature for some, I'm more excited about the broad appeal of the overall app. Imo collects MSN chat, Yahoo IM, AIM/ICQ, Google Talk, Jabber, Skype, Facebook, and MySpace into one streamlined app, letting you seamlessly switch between clients to chat with contacts, which are--for most of us--spread across many of those. You can keep concurrent sessions with any and all of the services, and the company states it will leave you logged into your computer if you're using its Web-based client as well. This prevents the hassle of having to log in again when switching between your desktop and portable device.
Imo includes the option to receive push notifications, so you will be notified of incoming messages even if not actively using the app. There's also a tabbed interface for previewing messages across clients before deciding which to respond to first. In addition, you can keep chat sessions open for up to 72 hours, search chat history and contacts, and type in landscape mode.
I haven't had a chance to fully test the Imo app yet, but the Web-based client seems good thus far. As mentioned, both apps--for iOS or Android devices--are currently free, so there's no reason not to snag a download and check it out for yourself.