Looking to bring instant messaging (IM) to your iPhone? You have most likely come across Beejive IM by now. You will have also likely suffered from a bit of a shock when you saw the price and wondered if it is really worth it or not. Ultimately you will have to make that decision for yourself but in this brief review we will show you what you get and that Beejive IM is more of a service than just an
application.

Beejive IM offers a rich array of settings which can be found under the Settings application on the iPhone (see screenshots below). Some of the nicer features include the ability to use groups, hide offline contacts and alter most aspects of how the interface will look. At the bottom of the settings you will find a section  labelled “œNetwork and Push” which is where Beejive IM truly starts to shine.

Due to limitations Apple has placed on the iPhone applications cannot run in the background. This has been a bit of a killer for instant messenger applications that really only work if they are always running. To overcome this Beejive IM keeps you logged in via their servers (up to 24 hours) and sends you email alerts when you get new messages. If you couple this with push email you will know immediately when you have new messages. The messages that arrive also have a
convenient button allowing you to open Beejive IM immediately from the email. When you factor in the this ability to always appear online and never miss a message you quickly realize Beejive is offering quite a service which helps justify some of the cost.

As far as the actual chat interface goes it could not be slicker. This application is well thought out and makes optimal use of all the iPhone has to offer. Adding new accounts is straightforward and you quickly become unaware of which chat protocol you are using to talk to your different contacts. Chat clients often fall apart when you start chatting with multiple people as it becomes a bit of a burden switching between chat sessions. Beejive beat this by coming up with a simple chat switcher (almost like CMD-TAB in OSX or ALT-TAB in Windows). You can even optionally set Beejive IM to switch chats based on a gentle shake.

The one time I had to contact Beejive (Apple replaced my iPhone and Beejive IM detected something fishy) they responded quickly and helped me resolve the issue.

In summary if you are an instant messaging addict we fully recommend Beejive IM even at full price. For people who are more casual users of instant messaging you may want to wait until the next promotion. Until Apple actually packages some form of iChat into the iPhone Beejive IM will likely be kind of the hill.

Beejive Fact Sheet

  • Price: $15.99 (has been on sale as low as $9.99)
  • Competition: IM+ ($7.99)
  • Protocols Supported:
  • AIM/MobileMe
  • GoogleTalk
  • ICQ
  • Jabber
  • MSN / Windows Live
  • Myspace IM
  • Yahoo! Messenger
  • Facebook IM

Key Features:

  • Stays connected 24/7!
  • Uses your iPhone data-plan (no per message charges)
  • Email notifications (new messages)
  • Drawbacks
  • No Skype support (IM+ offers this)