Many years ago, chat networks like MSN tried to stop multi-network instant messenger Trillian from including their network into its "one app to bind them all" program. But not anymore, because they learned that people are connected to multiple networks and they don't want to run a separate program for each of them. You wouldn't want to run separate web browsers for .com and .net domains either, would you?
What goes for computers also goes for mobile phones. Multi-network clients fring and Nimbuzz combine a bunch of instant messaging networks, VoIP using the widely used SIP standard, and Skype as well.
But not anymore. Skyped turned back the clock and blocked fring (or fring ditched Skype, check the mudslinging on the fring forum), and Nimbuzz announced that they'll have to dump Skype at the end of this month. Not because they want to, but because Skype told them to.
Nimbuzz connects to VoIP using SIP, GoogleTalk, Jabber, MSN (Windows Live), Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, Twitter, Gadu-Gadu, Facebook, MySpace, orkut, and Hyves. It does Twitter too.
Fring has VoIP (SIP), GoogleTalk, MSN (Windows Live), ICQ, Yahoo, AIM, Twitter, and social networking sites like Facebook and orkut. Fring is also a GMail notifier, last.fm radio player, Facebook tool, Twitter application, and it includes Wi-Fi hotspot finder WeFi.
Skype's own Symbian application pales in comparison. It does Skype and nothing else. So if you want to be connected to all your chat and VoIP networks you'll have to run two programs, which takes an extra bite out of your battery life. Yes, that sucks.
My advice: boycott Skype until they accept that multi-network programs are the way to go and being anal retentive is just plain stupid. Don't pay Skype a single penny until they grow up.
• Skype for Symbian
Monday, 25 October 2010