Meebo for iPhone: Simply perfect instant messaging

Free. Easy. And compatible with just about every IM network known to man. What more could you want from an iPhone- and iPod Touch-messaging app?

Meebo for iPhone is every bit as good as its browser-based counterpart. Meebo

As a longtime fan of Meebo, the browser-based, cross-platform instant-messaging service that requires no software and costs no money, I've been waiting forever for an iPhone companion.

The wait is over. Meebo for iPhone is here, and it's perfect. I can't envision myself wanting or using any other IM app.

Meebo supports all the major networks--AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, ICQ, Windows Live, Yahoo--and dozens more you've probably never heard of. (Batanga? Decayenne? Outspark? Guess I'm not as social as I thought I was.)

If you're already a Meebo user, just sign in; the app immediately retrieves your account settings so you can start chatting immediately, no configuration required. If you're not yet onboard, you can sign up for a free account from within the app.

Once you're logged in, just scroll through your list of online buddies and tap one to initiate a chat. It's equally easy to add buddies--and accounts. Indeed, the app couldn't be much easier to use, as it has just three options along the bottom: Buddies, Chats, and Accounts. (To tweak the settings, you have to venture into the iPhone's own Settings app, which is a bit of a hassle.)

Aside form simplicity, Meebo for iPhone has two notable features. First, it offers landscape typing, something you can't get in certain other freebie IM apps (*cough* AIM *cough*).

Second, like its Web counterpart, the app lets you view--and search!--a complete chat history for each of your buddies. Awesome, awesome feature. I use it constantly--couldn't live without it.

Meebo supports emoticons, multiple chats (swipe to switch between them), push notifications and embedded links (which open in an embedded browser--nice).

In other words, it's as capable as most other IM apps, but it doesn't cost a dime. That's bad news for developers that charge a few bucks, but good news for you.

Is there an instant-messaging app you like better? One you think is worth paying for? Share your IM thoughts in the comments.

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