I caved and paid $9.99 for an app. But this is one app that I’ve been anticipating. I was one of the folks who shelled out a whopping $29.95 for the Beejive license on my Blackberry Curve back in 2008. I have never in my life spent that much on a mobile app with the exception of Slingbox for Android which cost me $30 (it’s excellent btw). Why I thought it was necessary to spend that much on a chat program back then, I’m not sure because the price for that app is now $15. Needless to say I loved Beejive. It had a refreshing interface, it was feature rich, and it worked.
And now the good folks at Beejive have brought their app to Android and I couldn’t be more excited. I think that even though Beejive is in it’s early days on Android it is still surprisingly polished and sleek.
Beejive offers the ability to connect to multiple chat protocols including AIM/MobileMe, Google Talk, Facebook, Yahoo Messenger, Jabber, ICQ, MSN/Windows Live, and Myspace IM. You can also attach files, email chat conversations, send a voice note and insert emoticons. You can even change conversation backgrounds with custom wallpapers, and customize the colors of the talk bubbles. The app also lets you personalize notifications for chats received while you are in the app as well as when the app is running in the background. Additionally, Beejive has a cool Android inspired feature that easily allows you to navigate between chats by sliding down a transparent shade and choosing an open chat. I would like to see the ability to swipe from left to right to switch between chats which is currently available in the native Google Talk client on Android. I also love the text input window that appears as a transparent bubble because it gives the app a very polished look.
While I think this app is very feature rich there are some things that I would like to see added.
- more Android integration that allows me to link contacts to my address book and easily interact with a contact by pressing on their photo just like in the native Google Talk client
- I would like to see a preview of the message in the notification bar and not just the words “New Incoming Message”
- There should be an option to close all open chats at once instead of closing each chat one at a time
- SMS integration would be nice where I can get rid of my default SMS client and just use Beejive
- Allow custom contact names on my buddy list
- swipe to change chats
So far I am loving Beejive for Android and definitely recommend it for anyone who needs to connect to multiple IM clients or just really want a very customizable IM experience. I am sure that there will be future updates that will improve on an already great start. I have included some additional screenshots along with the barcode image below: