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If you are a dedicated Windows Live Messenger user and own an iPhone, you may want to take a gander at the official, recently released (and free) iPhone app for the longstanding IM service. The new Live Messenger app is fairly slick and easy to navigate, has push notifications, displays updates from many of the services you can integrate with in your Windows Live account — including Facebook — and handles the job of basic messaging very well. That said, there are a few obvious gaps and design flaws that have made the experience a bit frustrating for some.
Live Messenger for iPhone Features
- Chat with Windows Live and Yahoo! Messenger contacts
- Push notifications
- See what your friends are sharing and update your status on multiple Social Network accounts including Facebook, Flickr, MySpace and a slew of others
- Take photos or upload photos from your iPhone to share on your Windows Live account (add captions, yadda yadda)
- View and interact with your Windows Live connections and your own profile (including viewing profiles, chat, call and email)
- Lots of smiley emoticons for the lovers of smiley emoticons
- Access your hotmail account and send messages right from the app
Where It Lacks
- You can’t add or remove your social networks from within the app
- Push notifications have been reported to be spotty at best
- The app seems to have a problem refreshing the status of your online friends
- No group chats
- No iOS4 multitasking support at this time (and at least a two second wait for the app to load)
- UI issues that make it difficult to find settings — like where to log out, for example
- No way to reorder your contacts based on status, groups, hiding offline, or any other way that seems readily apparent
- Can’t block or delete contacts
- The email functionality appears to be just an embedded browser viewing Hotmail’s mobile version
How to View Profiles, Change Online Status and Sign Out of Windows Live Messenger for iPhone
In case you are one of the many having trouble with this, you can find your profile link, change your picture and online status by touching your profile picture (this is how you interact with your contacts’ menu options as well). To sign out of Windows Live Messenger for iPhone, go to your online status menu and you will find a “Sign out from here” button below Appear Offline.
As mentioned above, if you are a major Windows Live Messenger or even just Windows Live user, the new offering from Microsoft is a great start, and it ought to give you most of what you need on the go. It will likely improve in a hurry, too, considering Microsoft’s current push to take over the net. However, if you are an IM power user, you may wish to stick with another free service, like eBuddy, or Nimbuzz, which also allow for multiple instant message and some social network chat accounts.
What do you think of the new Windows Live Messenger for iPhone? Let us know in the comments!