There was a time when Facebook didn’t exist, and the internet was ruled by the likes of Orkut, mIRC and ICQ. Times have changed, and those services are still around, although they are nowhere near as popular as they once were. It’s still nice though, whenever you see those services doing something new, as is the case with the recent release of the official ICQ client for Windows Phone 7. Admittedly, not many people use the service now, but to be fair to the app, the Mango client looks pretty decent and can hold its own against most messenger apps available in the WP7 Marketplace. The best thing about the app is its integration with the People hub, and thanks to that feature, it is possible to chat with your Facebook, GTalk and Mail.Ru friends as well as the ones you have got in your ICQ messenger list.
To start using the app, you will have to login using your phone number, name and other similar credentials. A confirmation SMS will be sent to you, containing a code which you will need in order to get started. After you have entered the code, ICQ will request your permission to access the People hub, and all the contacts added there will be imported to the messenger’s list. It is possible to set a status message in the app, which will then be broadcasted to all of your online contacts. The app has a soundboard of its own, which you can toggle on or off using the option on the bottom bar. Similar toggles exist for hiding avatars of users, vibration, groups and offline contacts. If you don’t see any of your contacts imported automatically to the app’s contacts list, it is possible to use the ‘+’ button and add anyone via their ICQ nick, email ID or even phone number.
The availability status of contacts is displayed via the icons next to their name, and you can strike up a conversation with anyone who is online. It is also possible to send emails to contacts, and if they have chosen to share their phone number, you can call them from within the app as well. ICQ’s search option is pretty comprehensive, and scours multiple sources (Mail.Ru, Facebook, etc.) to bring you the most relevant results.
ICQ for WP7 is a free app, and you can give it a try by heading to the web Marketplace link below.