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Communication General

Is Texting a Mobile Version of IM?

In this day and age, texting¬† seems to be the most popular form of mobile secure communication. But, is it the mobile version of hosted instant messaging? I’m going to explore the ways that texting is, and isn’t, the best way to take IM on the go.

Texting IS a form of mobile hosted instant messaging:

  • You can have private conversations with one person (or multiple people) at a time
  • It allows you to mobilize communication, without the requirement of large data downloads or internet use time.
  • Is possible a fast way to get answers

Texting IS NOT a form of mobile hosted instant messaging:

  • The person may not answer right away as they are busy, whereas with IM, you know if they are available or not, for the most part.
  • Costs more, depending on your cell phone plan
  • Cannot send large files to most cell phones
  • Usually takes more time to type

A good middle ground is the fact that there are some phones that allow some chat programs to be loaded onto it, such as AIM. However, these programs do use internet access and/or airtime, so an unlimited internet or data plan is best. I have AIM on my iPod Touch, and while typing does take a while to get used to, I could see myself using it on an iPhone to chat with people while I am away from my desk, running errands, or bored on a car trip.

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What’s New in IM

The newest wave in hosted enterprise instant messaging- the ability to have a hosted IM client on your smartphone or blackberry. This is clearly the next logical step in total Web 2.0 integration, as taking technology mobile is a booming market right now. Consumers and businesspeople are expecting their mobile devices (like phones and PDAs) to be little computers that can basically do almost anything a full-size computer can do. This is because customers want a product that will allow them to still multi-task and still get things done on the go. A leading business email provider called Intermedia has introduced the first hosted enterprise instant messaging client platform for Blackberry. This allows employees to use their blackberry to chat remotely to other employees or clients that are using their computers to chat.
With full QWERTY keyboards on Blackberry phones and a lot of other models, it is now easier than ever to hold an IM chat conversation, create a document, or send an email. I know that personally, I would love to have a Hosted IM client on my iPhone (when I get one this fall) so I can chat and communication with others from my network, no matter what I am doing. I just got a new job that allows you to telecommute if needed, and being able to still chat with co-workers securely, even though I am not in the office, would be a great help.