Pinger Phone is designed to integrate instant messaging and social networking into the iPhone experience, says Joe Sipher, a co-founder of Pinger. IM offers presence (the ability to know who is actively online), is faster and can be cheaper than text messaging, Sipher argues.
Also, social networks currently don't exploit the advantage provided by iPhone Contacts as a communications hub, he says.
Having everything revolve around iPhone Contacts has become a prerequisite for any app that involves sending messages or making phone calls, so the latter point is moot, if you ask me.
The company's new app, Pinger Phone, has four primary functions — mail, mobile, IM and text — which are integrated into one menu so you can manage both phone contacts and friends on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter and communicate with them by whatever means suits the occasion. You can see whether someone is available via IM or on their social network feeds and then elect to call, text, IM, email or send a Facebook, MySpace or Twitter message.
Pinger Phone works with AIM, Yahoo! IM, MSN IM and Google Talk. The app automatically switches to the horizontal keyboard mode to make entering text faster and more accurate.
Pinger Phone is free, and supported by advertising. I've had Pinger Phone on my iPhone for a couple of days and so far, it works as advertised.
It's sure a dull-looking app, though. It's got the kind of look that could put you to sleep on a packed, sweaty bus bouncing down a hot, dusty road. I think if you aspire to do cool things, you should look the part.
Although I doubt I'll do much IM-ing, I like being able to do it in landscape mode. Now, if I could also have it for my texting and emailing, I'd be happy.