Finally! BlackBerry users everywhere should now be able to take advantage of AOL and ICQ (does anybody use ICQ anymore?!) instant messengers as well as AOL mail on their BlackBerry smartphones. At least that's what the Press Release issued by RIM says. I've heard from lots of Verizon and Rogers subscribers that they are now up and running with AIM, but as Ronen point outs it may not be available to everyone just yet (if you give it a try let us know in the comments if it is/isn't working for you. Note: you may want to resend your service books to ensure the current stuff for AIM gets through). Full app details and download instructions from the official announcement can be found after the jump!
AIM and ICQ for BlackBerry Smartphones
AIM and ICQ users make up one of the largest and most dynamic online and mobile communities with tens of millions of users worldwide and AOL and RIM have been working together to develop native software applications for BlackBerry smartphones that deliver a desktop-like mobile experience for the popular instant messaging services. The free AIM and ICQ applications will allow users to have a rich IM experience that is deeply integrated with their BlackBerry smartphone.
For example, users will be able to send pictures from the BlackBerry smartphone's camera application to their friends on AIM or ICQ, as well as see AIM or ICQ messages in their regular BlackBerry smartphone inbox. Users will also benefit from tight integration between AIM, ICQ and the BlackBerry Address Book. Users will be able to associate a contact in their IM contact list to the respective contact in their BlackBerry Address Book (and vice versa), which will allow the user to initiate an IM session from within their BlackBerry Address Book and initiate a phone call, email, SMS or MMS from within their AIM or ICQ session.
From their BlackBerry smartphone, AIM and ICQ users can also:
- Access Buddy List features including the ability to see if contacts are online and available to chat (i.e. presence);
- Set customized away messages and manage their AIM or ICQ online status (e.g. available, away, in a meeting, etc.) directly from the BlackBerry smartphone's home screen without launching the AIM or ICQ application;
- Set alerts to notify them when a contact's online availability changes;
- Select the Auto Sign-In option which will automatically sign them into AIM or ICQ when their BlackBerry smartphone is powered on;
- Use Picture IM to send and receive images;
- Log and save IM conversations for personal records or to email them to other contacts; and
- Select from a collection of pre-set emoticons to further customize their instant messages.
Once AIM or ICQ has been set up, an icon is automatically installed on the BlackBerry smartphone's home screen so that access to instant messaging is only a click away. Once launched on the handset, the instant messaging applications can run conveniently in the background, broadcasting the user's presence to their "buddies" and allowing immediate notification of incoming messages.
AOL Mail for BlackBerry Smartphones
AOL Mail for BlackBerry smartphones leverages the "push" architecture inherent in the BlackBerry platform and AOL's notification services to automatically deliver AOL Mail messages virtually simultaneously to the user's online account as well as to the user's BlackBerry smartphone. The status of messages that have been sent, read, replied to, forwarded or deleted from the smartphone are automatically reflected in the user's online AOL Mail account. Users can create a dedicated AOL Mail inbox on their BlackBerry smartphone or choose to set up a single inbox on their smartphone to store AOL Mail as well as messages from other IMAP or POP 3 e-mail accounts.
BlackBerry smartphone users with software version 4.5 or higher will also be able to view HTML email, download attachments and edit Microsoft(R) Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the smartphone.
AOL Mail, AIM and ICQ for BlackBerry smartphones are available now in the U.S. and are expected to become available in other countries around the world over the coming months.
The native AIM and ICQ applications for BlackBerry smartphones can be downloaded from http://www.blackberry.com/instantmessaging.