BeejiveIM (pronounced “bee-hive”) is an instant messaging application that supports nearly every chat system known to the Internet, including AIM, Yahoo!, Facebook, Google Talk, and MSN. You can log in to multiple accounts at once, chat with as many buddies as you like, and even send them photos and voice memos. In an upcoming update, you’ll even be able to send videos from your iPhone 3GS. And of course, version 3.0 (which this review is about) comes with support for push notifications!
Let’s start with the most anticipated feature, push notifications. When you first open Beejive, you’ll be asked if you’d like to turn on push notifications. These notifications show up similar to text messages whenever you receive an IM while the app isn’t running. You can individually toggle pop-ups, sounds, and icon badges from within the system-wide settings. Additionally, you can customize the alert sound from within the Beejive settings. The app can be set to automatically go away as soon as you exit the app or after a specified time away from the app. If you don’t open Beejive for a long time, you’ll be automatically signed out.
We’ve made a video of push notifications for you to check out below:
Also new in 3.0 is meta contacts. Instead of displaying a list of buddy handles, you can link your friends to their respective contact cards and see a list of human names instead. On top of simply showing their names and pictures, linking buddies to contacts lets you quickly view contact information right from Beejive! If you’ve linked buddy names to Address Book on your Mac, this’ll work right out of the box. You can also set it up from within Beejive.
Once it’s all set up, the result looks a bit like this:
In addition to meta contacts, the buddy list sports a new look as well as collapsable buddy categories. If you’ve got a big buddy list, there’s a search option available as well as options for adding and removing buddies. Tapping the arrow next to a buddy’s name shows additional information, including linked contact info. From there you can call, SMS, or email a buddy. If you’ve used Beejive before, you’ll notice that the new buddy list is a bit cleaner and much more responsive than previous versions.
Chatting in Beejive is quite similar to using the SMS app. Your buddy’s messages are shown on the left and your messages are shown on the right. However, typing messages is a bit different from the SMS app. When you begin typing, a black, translucent bubble appears over the conversation. Whatever you type appears in the bubble. Once you tap send, the black bubble disappears and your message is sent. If you’re used to seeing a “typing” indicator which shows that the other party is typing, you won’t get that in Beejive. It’s not a big deal, but it’s worth mentioning. Tapping the top bar from within a chat allows you to quickly switch between chats. You can even chat in landscape!
Links sent in-chat can be viewed in Safari or in the in-app browser. The in-app browser lets you do basic stuff like panning and zooming, but it doesn’t have a landscape mode and no refresh/back/forward/stop controls. But since you have push with Beejive, hopping over to Safari isn’t really the end of the world.
Copy and paste support has also been added to Beejive 3.0. Simply tap and hold on a chat bubble to copy text from it. You can then paste the text wherever you want.
SMS support is included as well so you can send messages to mobile phones without using texts. How cool is that?
In addition to sending plain text, you can also send photos and video (iPhone 3GS only) from your camera or photo library and voice notes from your iPhone’s microphone. You can receive and open text, audio, video, PDFs, and just about anything else the iPhone supports.
Overall, Beejive’s interface is very functional and even clever at times. You can change chat bubble colors, sounds, and even add backgrounds to your chats. Unfortunately, having so many features seems to have cluttered the interface a bit. In spite of not being the prettiest iPhone app out there, the features totally won us over. It just rocks!