I always wanted to use my iPhone for instant messaging with Facebook chat and MSN messenger, but the screen was just too small to display contact lists, conversations and the keyboard all at once. I bought Beejive, and while I was initially impressed, I very rarely used the app because dealing with more than one conversation was a nightmare, not to mention the endless bugginess and the fact that my 3G sometimes struggled to run the app smoothly.
But then along came the iPad, and without sounding too much like a fanboy, the bigger screen makes it the perfect device for Instant Messaging. And yes, I know I could use my laptop, but tapping away on the ‘pad is much more comfortable when sat on a sofa or armchair.
Anyway, Beejive IM for iPad is brilliant. It’s never crashed on me or even been slightly slow to open. No, it’s as fast as a native app and flicking between open conversations is effortless. It displays my contact list, names of who I’m talking to, and one conversation, plus the keyboard, all at once. This is something the iPhone, and any device with a small screen, cannot ever do well. The use of screenspace is perfect.
As I briefly mentioned earlier, the app supports MSN/Windows Live Messenger, AIM, Facebook Chat and many, many others. Other neat features include letting you change the wallpaper and other such gimmicks.
Beejive supports push notifications for messages received, so it’s very easy to log in then close the app until someone speaks to you. This works fine for me and is as close as I’m getting to multitasking until iOS4 comes to the iPad later in the year. But even then, you’d have to flick between applications, and with Beejive opening and closing pretty much instantly, it’s really no different to ‘true’ multitasking anyway.
The price is, as with the iPhone, a little steep, but it’s worth it. I’ve already used this app way more than I ever used it on the iPhone, and that’s on my WiFi only iPad. I really do use this instead of my MacBook for IM when I’m watching TV.