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.