BlackBerry IM Chat Apps/FAQ - MSN/AIM/ICQ/Yahoo/Google [UPDATED]
BlackBerry Instant Messaging FAQ
What Instant Messaging Software Is Available For BlackBerry?
BeeJive's JiveTalk (Multi Network) (One-Time Fee) (see review)
IM+ (Multi Network) (One-Time Fee)
RIM's Google Talk (Google Talk) (Free)
RIM's Yahoo Messenger (Yahoo) (Free)
RIM's Windows Messenger (MSN) (Free, only on some carriers)
RIM's AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) (Free, only on some carriers)
RIM's BlackBerry Messenger (PIN) (Free)
Yak-On (Multi Network) (One-Time Fee)
WebMessenger (Multi Network) (Annual Subscription)
Causerie Messenger (Multi Network) (Annual Subscription)
BerryVine Messenger (MSN Direct Connect) (One-Time Fee)
QuickIM Messenger (MSN Direct Connect) (One-Time Fee)
Ramble (AIM Direct Connect) (Freeware)
BlackChat ICQ (ICQ Direct Connect) (Free Open Source)
(Updated List: Click Here.)
How Do I Configure My BlackBerry To Work With Instant Messaging Software?
It's now automatic with the better software, such as JiveTalk - no further configuration needed. In fact, with a minimal amount of extra configuring, most BlackBerry instant messaging software now work even without a BlackBerry plan (See article on using BlackBerry on a Cheap Data Plan, just configure the APN setting). Many software programs can be configured to automatically work over the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), which is always included with all BlackBerries and are usually not blocked. In other cases, you can just configure the APN. For common carriers that do not work automatically with instant messaging software on BlackBerry, please see a list of common APN's.
What about Instant Messaging Built Into T-Mobile BlackBerry?
It is perfectly adequate for light usage. If you are not a heavy IM user, then this client works very well. However there are disadvantages to the Instant Messenger built into T-Mobile BlackBerry (Oz Instant Messaging):
- It uses SMS messages, instead of data.
- It is slow. Messages are delayed by a few seconds, sometimes worse.
- In older versions, you cannot hit Enter to transmit messages.
- You cannot be logged onto multiple chat networks at the same time.
- You cannot conduct multiple chat conversations simultaneously as easily
- It cannot run in the background reliably in a 24/7 always-on mode.
- Alerting is not as configurable as the best BlackBerry IM clients.
Heavy IM users prefer a full-fledged client, such as JiveTalk for BlackBerry, which overcomes many of these problems.
What Is Instant Messaging?
If you don't know what instant messaging is, then you are probably not interested in using instant messaging on BlackBerry. However, this FAQ will explain instant messaging anyway for completeness.
Instant Messaging (IM) is a form of Internet chat. It is called "IM" for short. Essentially, IM is a text version of a telephone call that is more realtime than email or SMS. An IM conversation typically looks like the following:
MSN - Microsoft MSN Messenger, Windows Messenger
AIM - AOL Instant Messenger
ICQ - ICQ Instant Messaging Service
Y! - Yahoo! Messenger
GTALK - Google Talk
Most installations of Windows XP usually include an application called "Windows Messenger", which connects to the MSN Messenger network. This program can easily be used as a trial, to see if you like instant messaging. IM was only a niche market for business, but is becoming much more popular with businesses, especially with the introduction of Jabber-based protocols and enterprise messaging. It is popular among consumers, especially young people, as well as among deaf people including Mark Rejhon, the writer of this FAQ.
IM includes a contact list called a "Buddy List". Usually, only people who are inside your Buddy List are authorized to contact you. That allows you to prevent strangers from even attempting to reach you by IM, and it is also very easy to block someone from reaching you by IM, simply by removing their name from your Buddy list, or using a blocking feature.
Why Use Instant Messaging?
Extra communications choice for your BlackBerry.
Some people check their email faster -- Use your BlackBerry email.
Some people prefer phone -- Call them via your BlackBerry phone
Some people prefer IM chat -- Ping them via JiveTalk
This can be true, especially if you know people who tend to hang out all the time on at least one of the IM networks. There are many times it can be more discreet than a phone call, and internationally. It can actually be cheaper to chat via IM, than making a roaming phone call.
IM is good for realtime chatting. It is typically treated as a text equivalent of a telephone call. Email is almost fast enough to be realtime, but you can't read and write at the same time -- while you can with IM! You can read incoming messages scrolling in simultaneously while you're writing a reply in IM. At the beginning of 2004, there was only 2 chat programs available for BlackBerry. By the end of 2004, there was over 15 chat programs available, including several instant messenger software programs! Now in 2007, there are many more, so only a small list is mentioned. Of these, most people tend to prefer JiveTalk, IM+, or RIM's own chat clients. In a year from now, something better could even come out.
What Are The Advantages Of Instant Messaging?
There are some advantages of IM:
Advantages of Using Instant Messaging Over SMS
Some people have asked what are the advantages of using a dedicated instant messaging client instead of using plain old SMS. Most BlackBerry IM clients such as JiveTalk use data instead of SMS text messages.
Advantages Of Using IM Instead Of SMS:
I Don't Have Instant Messaging Accounts. How Do I Sign Up?
Here are the signup links for each Instant Messaging Network. All are free:
MSN: MSN Messenger
AIM: AOL Instant Messenger
ICQ: ICQ Instant Messaging Service
Y!: Yahoo Messenger
GTALK: Google Talk
Some of the IM software programs support all networks simultaneously. If you have never used instant messaging, you do not need to sign up for all the networks. The most popular networks are MSN and AIM respectively. If you wished, you could just use MSN, just because it is included with Windows XP. Also, did you know that if you have a Hotmail account, you can just use your Hotmail username and password to logon to the MSN Messenger system? So that means you've already got an account on MSN if you are a Hotmail user!
Software such as JiveTalk do not require you to have accounts on all systems. Just keep the username and password blank for the IM networks that you do not use, and disable the login checkbox for those IM accounts. You can just use 1 or 2 accounts, rather than all 4 networks, if you wish.
Too Many People Contacting Me! What Do I Do Now?
This can sometimes happen if you imported your whole massive desktop buddy list into your BlackBerry.
To solve this problem, the easiest solution is to simply signup for separate IM accounts for your BlackBerry, separate from your desktop. That way, you can only add only the most important contacts ("buddies") to your IM buddy lists. That means people who you don't want contacting you on your BlackBerry, won't be able to ring you on your BlackBerry via IM.
For more information about Mark Rejhon's favourite IM client for BlackBerry, see:
Verichat 1.78 Download Thread (With New Features List)
Or alternatively, enter this web address in your BlackBerry Browser for an Over-The-Air download:
http://www.verichat.com/ota/VeriChat.jad (Version 1.91)
This FAQ has now been updated again (February 8th, 2005).
If you have any common questions about instant messaging, please post in this thread, and I will do my best to integrate it in this FAQ.
Mark (or anyone) does the IM client use actual minutes on the phone or is it part of the web portion. I am assuming the web portion, but want to make sure. Any help would be great.
That would be part of your data plan (web portion)
If I actually paid for my service I could tell you, but unfortunately I'm not sure :(
Can anyone tell me if i've missed a step?
I downloaded the t-mobile version of verichat, I have myAPN at wap.voicestream.com, I have tried with force MDS on and Off and I still get an error "Failed to transmit"
I have full GPRS, I have 4.0 on the phone and desktop.
In the options/applications there are 2 versions of verichat listed, 1.78B and then indented right below is 1.51b
Any suggestions as to what I am doing wrong?
I was under the impression that t-mobile has re-openned ports in the wap gateway. Are there any confirmations for Los Angeles?
At this stage, I believe you now have to telephone T-Mobile to make sure that the wap.voicestream.com is properly added to your account. Sometimes you have to do this.
Make sure you contact a BlackBerry tech support representative and ask for this quote "I am calling about my phone. I need to have something added to my account. I need the wap dot voicestream dot com Internet Access Point Name added to my account." (or say something similiar).
Already did that. I have everything in place. my account is in order and I have the correct service. They were even trying to troubleshoot it with me! I guess they changed their policy about 3rd party support. Anyhow, they couldn't figure it out either :(
got it to work!
I decided to just reinstall the 4.0 software and it whiped my phone clean and now it works after a fresh install.
Thank you everyone for your help
Excellent. If they're currently answering the phone quickly, you might want to call T-Mobile back and let them know how you fixed the problem! So that they can improve tech support procedures. At least if you're calling T-Mobile back for other reasons, make it a point to mention how you fixed it, out of matter of courtesy!
You can download Verichat 1.91 Over-The-Air by entering this web address into your BlackBerry browser:
Handango did not allow PDAapps to post a version that had all 4 networks, because of some kind of deal they have with AOL.
Please note, if you last installed Verichat via BlackBerry Desktop, you must uninstall that version before you download Over-The-Air. Yes, your same registration code will work.
PDAapps used to post every upgrade on their download webpage. Now for whatever reason they just offer periodic upgrades.
That's because they are working hard on the new single-socket version. All four networks are multiplexed over one single connection, to solve several problems. It's a vastly major architectural change, which is why it is taking so long.
Hi Mark Rejhon,
This is a dumb question but I know Mark you prefer public questions rather than PM, so here goes:
If two people have Blackberries that both have Verichat and you are primarily interested in chatting with each other at times that you cannot talk on the phone, is Verichat and IM in general the way to go or should we just use SMS?
Basically I am not IMing with anyone else, but I like to use it for real-time or non-real time quick messages. I know SMS is not two-way real time, however it seems like IM might be overkill if you don't have other buddies you want to chat with and both people have Blackberries.
Also not using IM from the computer, just the handheld.
Thoughts or pros/cons?
Yes, you can do Verichat from BlackBerry to BlackBerry if you wish. It can be an excellent way to conduct a conversation. Not a dumb question, but an excellent question that other people no doubt want to know more about. There are advantages and disadvantages:
Advantages Of Using Verichat Instead Of SMS
Thanks for the info, Mark. Based on your excellent breakdown, I think we'll try the SMS route first. Reason being we use messaging infrequently and that Verichat when open seems to access data more often which affects my ability to get phone calls and also the battery life.
It is an excellent application and for me, if I had more IM buddies I'd be all over it. For now, I tend to call them if we both can talk at the same time and I was just looking for something to send messages to my husband.
I'll keep playing to see if my usage model with change.
While you're at it, did you know Windows XP already comes with Windows Messenger?
1. Click Start
2. Select "All Programs"
3. Select "Windows Messenger"
4. Login using your MSN account.
This is free and already pre-installed on your computer, so it is good for testing things out too. You can create two MSN accounts (using the links in my FAQ above), one for your computer, one for your BlackBerry. And do some tests sending messages back and fourth between the BlackBerry and the desktop computer -- at least while you're still within your 2 week VeriChat trial period.
You probably do not need IM anyway, but if you are going to play with it anyway -- you might as well do the simple 1-2-3-4 steps above too :)
I downloaded it and it works great right off the bat. My only question is... How does it affect my phone? Will people be able to call me while I am chatting or if I have VeriChat running in the background? Since theoretically you can only do one at a time either voice GSM or GPRS
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