AOL’s app solution is quite the feat. Using iPhone’s WiFi and 3G/EDGE capabilities, users can sign in anywhere and talk to multiple friends on the same interface, without iPhone skipping a beat.
The interface is obvious and really quite great. What instantly struck me is that users can just tap through buddy lists, in and out with no problem. The four bottom options are straightforward, and cannot be changed.
Buddy List is easy enough to catch onto. It starts off in your main Groups, and has the option to just see all the online users. It’s convenient and pretty solid, allowing you to view pretty much every variable. A downside to the buddy list is that even though you can assign screen names to your address book, and have them correctly tagged in iChat, et cetera, AIM for iPhone doesn’t push those names. Users can only see the normal screen names, and for now that cannot be edited.
Favorites is interesting enough. Exactly the same as in your Contacts, you can choose main friends that are in one list, easily accessible and quickly displayed. It’s handy if you have a main crew that you’re always talking to. Also, my favorites section… Well, I can’t actually edit it. I’m sure there’s an update coming, but for now I’ve got no real clue as to why that portion is there.
My Info allows you to change your online status and your message. As well as these ways to edit your status, you can also edit your profile image by taking a photo or choosing an existing photo. These options can be found by clicking the current image.
There’s even a button for your active IM conversations, and you can edit and create new ones with the tap of a finger. My favorite part of viewing active IMs is that you can easily switch between ‘windows’ by flicking the screen to the right or left, or tapping the small glowing circles in the middle of the screen.
A downside to the buddy list is that even though you can assign screen names to your address book, and have them correctly tagged in iChat, et cetera, AIM for iPhone doesn’t push those names. Users can only see the normal screen names, and for now that cannot be edited.
All in all, it’s a pretty solid app. The contacts all show up, and if a new contact IMs you while you’re on your phone, that contact is saved in your ‘Recent Buddies’ list in other AIM clients.