TalkRoom for iPhone ($2.99) by Light Room is a simple and fast chatting app for your iPhone that connects to Facebook, Google Talk, and Jabber.
In this world of social networking with services like Twitter, there are actually people that still use instant messengers. Crazy, right? Personally, I still use instant messengers quite often, because of the immediacy that such services offer. Now there's a new app that offers your instant messenger needs in a minimal yet beautiful interface. It's time to enter TalkRoom for iPhone.
Currently, TalkRoom only offers Facebook chat, Jabber, and Google Talk. I was a bit disappointed when I realized this, because I am a frequent user of AIM (yes, it's still around, believe it or not) to keep in touch with my friends and coworkers. However, the developers have informed me that support for AIM, Yahoo, and MSN will be added sometime in September, so keep your eyes peeled for those.
Once you log in to your Facebook/Jabber/GTalk accounts, you'll see the app divided into three tabs along the bottom: Accounts, Contacts, and Chats.
Accounts is where you can view your currently connected accounts and add new ones, set your status and even a message to go along with it, login or logout, and toggle push notifications, history, and login on start. The settings for the app are also accessed here via the gear icon.
Settings include landscape toggle, location, push session length (from one day to 30 days), multitasking, local notifications toggle, sound and vibration toggles.
On the Contacts screen, you will see all of your available buddies. You can use the Regroup button at the top right corner to view your online contacts organized by your accounts or just view Online/Offline. Status lights are on the left hand side that look like the ones you get in iChat on the Mac, which definitely add to the instant messenger client feel. All buddy icons are on the right hand side. Tapping on a contact will initiate a new chat session with them.
When chatting with someone, you'll notice a bar at the top that allows for fast switching if you're talking to multiple people. This is great for social butterflies that constantly have a lot of people talking to them. Unlike other apps that I've used (BeeJiveIM and Verbs Pro), there's no need to bring up another view -- all of your open chats are just a single tap away.
TalkRoom features it's own built-in browser, thought it seems to only recognize links when it features the http:// part of the URL. If this is missing, the link won't be recognized.
There's an option to send your location in a chat, which is useful if you are planning to meet up with someone. However, the ability to add a photo, video clip, or audio is missing (this is found in BeeJive IM). I would like to see this functionality added in a future update.
TalkRoom for iPhone is fast, simple, and effective. However, with the current setup of services, I can't recommend it fully yet, unless you are content with Facebook, Jabber, and Google Talk. I, however, need AIM and Yahoo (and others need MSN), so until that update comes in September (or whenever it comes), it's best to wait. Adding the ability for sending multimedia would be a welcome feature as well.
It's best to keep this app on your watch list for now, unless you're an avid user of the three mentioned chat services.
UPDATE: The developers have added support for a total of seven instant messaging services, rather than the original three. So if you are an avid user of multiple IM services, then give TalkRoom a try!