When we talk about an Instant Messaging app for mobile devices, two of the first few apps that come to our mind are WhatsApp and eBuddy Messenger – two of the most popular IM apps out there, with highly distinctive features. WhatsApp is supported on multiple mobile platforms and allows you to send recorded audio to the recipient, on the go. Limitation? Communicates app to app alone. This is where eBuddy steps in with its multiple IM client support across multiple platforms. No audio support though, even if you do buy the Pro version. Did we mention that WhatsApp, while being free on Android, is a paid app on iOS. Honestly, eBuddy has nothing special to offer either unless you buy the pro version.
Enter Palringo! A multi-platform messenger with support for multiple IM clients and a premium as well as free version, where the free variant does not disappoint. Even better, the app does allow you to send recorded audio along with the usual images to any recipient over any IM client. One of the key features of this app is the location-based group chat. You can create a group, or you can join those detected near your location, or if you choose to, any group outside your location parameters as well.
While the app is available for PC and Mac as well, we will only be reviewing the iOS and Android variants of the app.
To start off, you’ll need to create an account with Palringo before you can use the IM clients. Once you have your account set up, you can simply add an account for the client you wish to use. Of course, you can use multiple clients at once as well.
As you can see, there is an extensive list of clients that the app supports. From MSN and Facebook messenger, to ICQ and AOL, Palringo has you completely covered. All the services you have added will show up on the app’s main screen along with your status on each. To add a new service in the iOS version of the app, hit Edit and then the + button. As for Android, hit Menu > Add Service.
To set your status, simply tap on a service (client) and you will be immediately shown a list of statuses to choose from. To sign out of all your services at once, simply sign out of Palringo instead of going around one service at a time.
Before we move onto the usual IM client messaging support and how it works, let’s go through the app’s location-based messaging. Basically, the feature lets you discover or create groups according to your location. Testing it on an iOS and an Android handset yielded somewhat different results.
Now, Groups can be added via categories, location, or you can simply search for them by name. As for discovering groups via location, the Android app allowed us to search by layers, that is, Groups and Users. We did not find such an option in the iOS version, where Discovery was limited to Groups only. It makes you wonder why the iOS version does not include the other option, where both variants of the app support Location Tracking.
The screenshots below show you how exactly the groups show up on iOS and Android rexpectively. To leave a group, simply swipe left in iOS, or if you’re on Android, hold down on a group to bring up the relevant options. You also have the option to mute any alerts coming from a group you have joined, pretty much like in Google+ Messenger.
Coming to the IM clients bit, the messaging interface and options are pretty slick. As mentioned earlier, one of the best features is the audio support. Tap the icon on the top right corner of the screen and you will be given options to record and send audio, send existing images from the gallery or capture new ones from within the app.
To begin messaging, choose a contact, and once a conversation starts, it can be found in the Messages tab. Here you can also choose to delete a conversation by swiping left if on iOS, or by long-pressing the conversation in Android and selecting the relevant option from the ones that appear.
For more information and queries regarding device support, head over to the official Palringo website.