iPhone IM arms race ramping up, Trillian coming soon

That fancy $600 phone you just bought might get some chatting functionality added to it next week.

This weekend has been a rather busy one for iPhone developers. Adobe Systems hosted the iPhoneDevCamp in its San Francisco offices, and the result is 50 new Web apps specifically designed for Apple's shiny new toy. Earlier today we wrote about some of our favorites, although one of the more important ones that didn't come out the developer's event was the new iPhone-optimized version of Trillian from Cerulean Studios. From the looks of the pictures on their blog, it looks a lot like iChat, and more important is finger- and eye-friendly, especially when compared to Meebo's current offerings.

Instead of emulating the desktop chat experience, Trillian for the iPhone turns your screen into one big buddy list. You can keep track of active conversations on top of your friends list, and jump between active conversations in one place without juggling windows.

The one snag? It's not available yet. Cerulean is planning to roll it out to testers of its upcoming chat program Astra in the next week or so. In the meantime, the company has left a tantalizing screenshot, and a sign-up page for eager early adopters.

Trillian users will soon be able to IM on their iPhone with a fairly similar iChat-like interface. Cerulean Studios
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