Palringo first launched its instant messaging app for the iPhone back in July and for six months it has been one of the best options available for IM on the iPhone. The app is sleek and functional, marrying text IM, picture messaging and PTT-like vocal messaging with a multi-platform solution that covers all of the major chat services. Oh, and it’s all free. Today, Palringo announced a new build that adds some great new functionality to its already-capable app revolving around Location Based Services (LBS). As is the trend these days, software developers are finding all sorts of different ways to integrate LBS into their offerings but sometimes things get a tad out of control. Do you think any of your Twitter friends really want you to broadcast your location every 10 minutes? In an IM app however, location adds a new and useful layer to contact presence and Palringo is working on some great features. Included in this update, users will now see location and distance (from the user) data alongside each Palringo contact in their list. In a forthcoming update due very soon, tapping a contact’s location will bring up a map displaying all contacts within a 6-mile radius. The user will also be able to bring up a map displaying his or her own location. We’re sure you can see where Palringo is going with all this, but suffice it say we can expect pretty great things in the near future from Palringo surrounding LBS. If you haven’t tried the app yet, definitely hit the app store and do so. Those of you with jailbroken iPhones, toss Backgrounder into the mix for best results.
It has been less than one month since Palringo added its IM application to the iPhone App Store and we already have the major revision promised when it was released on July 29. The most notable addition of course, is Push-to-Talk (PTT) support. PTT, or vocal IM as they often call it in this case, is the feature that sets Palringo apart from competitors on various other platforms and now the great functionality is available to iPhone users as well. So how does it work? Just like standard PTT services, simply select a contact from your contact list and hold a [virtual] button while speaking. Finish talking, release the button and your audio recording is quickly delivered to the recipient. Incoming PTT messages can be played automatically or manually depending on your settings and they will play right from within the app. Of course Palringo also supports messaging to a variety of other IM platforms such as GTalk, Yahoo and AIM and they aren’t left out when it comes to PTT. The catch of course is that these IM services don’t support PTT so any vocal messages, just like picture messages, will be delivered as a link to the file hosted on Palringo servers. The recipient can then easily click the link and view your image file or play the PTT message right from within any standard browser. Of course the addition of PTT support doesn’t change the fact that the app is free and since all iPhones are sold with unlimited data, you’ve now got unlimited PTT as well – to any handset running Palringo on any network! Take that, carriers.
If you have an S60, Windows Mobile or BlackBerry smartphone then you should already know about Palringo. They call it “rich messaging” and we call it a good IM application with support for AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger, Gadu Gadu, ICQ, Jabber, Windows Live Messenger and Palringo’s own IM platform. For a quick recap on what sets Palringo apart, here are the three core functions:
- Text IM: Standard, run-of-the-mill instant messaging.
- Vocal IM: More commonly known as Push to Talk (PTT), users can instantly exchange voice messages in near real-time. Think of it as a free walkie talkie on your mobile. Palringo -> Palringo voice messages will play automatically on the recipient’s device, just like PTT. Palringo -> ‘Other’ messages will be delivered as links that the recipient can click on to play the audio file hosted on Palringo’s servers.
- Image IM: Exactly what it sounds like. Click the picture button and Palringo will activate the handset’s camera. Snap a picture, hit send and the image will display right in the Palringo client on the recipient’s handset. Users can also send images to third-party IM services (GTalk, AIM, etc). Just like voice IM, your contact will receive a link that will allow him / her to view and save the image hosted on Palringo’s servers.
Now, iPhone owners have access to what is likely one of the most versatile mobile IM apps on the market. For the time being, functionality is limited to text and image messaging but Palringo promises vocal IM in the second release version. In the meantime, iPhone owners can now enjoy free text and image IM on whichever IM platform they like. Just hit the App Store and you’re good to go.
After what has been quite a long wait for many eager BlackBerry users, Palringo has finally made its BlackBerry IM client available to the public. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Palringo’s IM client, it’s definitely time to remedy that. Already fairly popular on Symbian and Windows Mobile devices, Palringo provides text, voice and image IM services – for free. Beyond its own IM service it also supports just about every popular IM platform like Google Talk, AIM, MSN Yahoo and more. Let’s break it down by service:
- Text IM: Standard, run-of-the-mill instant messaging.
- Voice IM: More commonly known as Push to Talk (PTT), users can instantly exchange voice messages in near real-time. Think of it as a free walkie talkie on your mobile. PTT is a service that has been very limited in consumer acceptance due to high prices, handset compatibility issues and carrier limitations. Enter Palringo. Now that a solid java client is available, for free, PTT couldn’t be more accessible. Also of note, Palringo supports voice messaging to third-party IM clients (GTalk, AIM, etc) as well. While Palringo -> Palringo voice messages will play automatically on the recipient’s device, Palringo -> ‘Other’ messages will be delivered as links that the recipient can click on to play the audio file hosted on Palringo’s servers.
- Image IM: Exactly what it sounds like. Click the picture button and Palringo will activate the handset’s camera. Snap a picture, hit send and the image will display right in the Palringo client on the recipient’s handset. Users can also send images to third-party IM services (GTalk, AIM, etc). Just like voice IM, your buddy will receive a link that will allow him / her to view and even save the image hosted on Palringo’s servers.
Palringo also includes some other nice features such as group chat with image and voice support; meaning you can send one text, voice or image IM that will be received simultaneously by any number of users in a group. To download the app on your BlackBerry, just visit palringo.mobi from your mobile browser or hit the read link to visit Palringo’s site and check out other download options.
UPDATE: Sorry guys, we forgot to mention that for the time being you’ll need a Pearl, Curve or 8800 series to play.
[Via Press Release]