AOL releases new AIM app for the iPhone

February 27, 2009

Some people are surprised when they hear that AOL is still in business and plugging away. Now there is yet more proof. There is a new and improved AIM app for the iPhone and iPod touch.

AIM, of course, stands for AOL Instant Messenger and it was once one of the darlings of the instant messaging (IM) world. AIM has declined in popularity as the popularity of AOL itself has waned, offset by other IM services like Google IM, Yahoo, and Microsoft. Yet, this is another area where Apple’s product and marketing genius shows through. The iPhone is so popular that even AOL is producing, and continuing to improve applications for Apple mobile platform.

The new AIM version 2.0 for the iPhone does deliver some improvements over the previous version. Perhaps the coolest is that it uses the GPS abilities of the iPhone to make the AOL instant messaging service location-aware. If you decide to let it, you can let all of your friends, or everyone in the world, to know exactly where you are all the time. Or at least where your phone is. And, of course, you can see the whereabouts of all of your friends that have agreed to let the system show where they are.

The new AIM app will provide users with SMS notifications, a feature which was lacking in previous versions for the iPhone. It also allow users to work with multiple accounts, also for the first time on the iPhone and Touch. The new version also comes in both “œAIM Free” and “œAIM Paid” versions. Only the free version is currently available, and there is no information yet on what premium features will be available in the paid version, according to a TechCrunch article.

One thing about this location-aware feature: if you leave your phone on when you lose it, will you be able to have one of your local AIM buddies track it down for you? I don’t know if AOL has figured out that there is a feature here begging to be marketed, but you can bet they will.

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