Price: free Download on the App Store
Nimbuzz, from the company of the same name, enables you to call, chat and message family and friends on all the major instant messaging communities and social networks including Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, Facebook, MySpace, AIM, Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ and Jabber. Phone calls go out over VoIP using a Wi-Fi connection. It’s all free, including the iPhone app itself.
It’s the first fully-featured messaging app with a landscape mode chat, IM buddy calling including Yahoo! and regional social network support, Nimbuzz says.
Nimbuzz also features a centralized contact list that aggregates your contacts on most of the popular social and IM networks.
On paper, it's a game changer. In reality, well, there's still a lot of time to play.
I launch the app and sign up for an account (the usual username, password and email address). A couple seconds later, the iPhone vibrates and a "Welcome" message appears in my inbox. So far, so good.
Everything this app does revolves around the Contacts list, so I tap on the Contacts icon and start entering names. Suddenly, Nimbuzz crashes, my iPhone goes into a coma for about 30 seconds and opens its home screen.
I try again. I tap the Contacts icon and this time I tap "Helpbot," because I want to make sure I really understand the ins and outs. Tapping Helpbot, or any name in the Contact list, takes you to a Profile screen where you have three options: Phone, Chat and Email.
I try the phone icon. After a minute’s delay, I hear an automated voice but the sound quality was poor so I didn't understand much of it. In any case, it didn’t help.
Then Nimbuzz crashed and brought me back home to reality.
I fire up Nimbuzz once again. This time I decide to contact one of the four names I managed thus far to enter into Nimbuzz. I tap one and head off to the Profile screen and its Phone, Chat and Email options. I tap each icon but nothing happens, even though I have friends online, according to my Contacts lists, I can't reach anyone through Nimbuzz.
I must be an idiot, I think. The app doesn’t have Help, so I go to the Nimbuzz Web site to see how well I could manage from there. Well, I was able to quickly set up and manage my Contact list, so that’s good.
I thoroughly read through all the help files and try Nimbuzz again. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn’t. For example, I tap a Contact, go to Profile and try making a call. Nothing happens. Next, I try Chat and Email and those work right off and in landscape mode too, so that's cool. Still, I'm frustrated.
I decide to go back to the Nimbuzz Website to see if I might have missed a crucial point of info and this time, I stumble across a forum, which takes some poking around to find.
Hmm, seems like I'm not the only one experiencing problems. The Report a Bug problem section is second only to the Features Request in the number of topics. At least I know now that I’m not as big an idiot as I think.