The iPhone 3.0 update finally brought push notification to the iPhone platform. When 3.0 first hit there were virtually no apps that took advantage of this new capability. After dropping the ball for a few days, the Apple app developer community finally caught up with the times. Three popular instant messenging clients, AOL instant messenger, IM 3.0, and Beejive, have been updated to offer push notification.
Previously chatting on the iPhone was plagued with difficulties. If you switched away from whatever IM client you were using, the phone had difficulty notifying you when you received a message. Now with push notification, iPhone owners can finally manage multiple conversations from different IM clients while still being able to browse the 'net or play games.
The new AIM client is free. You can stay logged into it for up to 24 hours without being kicked out, and the program will notify you about new messages through the push notification system. AIM is one of the oldest IM clients, and the fact that it is both free and relatively functional have made it very popular with smartphone users the world over.
BeejiveIM is a higher-end chat utility. It allows you to log in to your Yahoo Messenger, AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, MSN, Jaber, and MySpace accounts, all from the same place. Unfortunately you do have to pay for the increased functionality. BeejiveIM will set you back $9.99.
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IM 3.0 is also out now. It's got the same functionality as BeejiveIM, but for a slightly lower price tag. It's just $5.99 from the Apple app store.