IM Watch: New AIM Shows What You’re Typing in Real-Time

Web-based & Instant Messaging News & Trends

New AIM 6.8 Beta With Real-Time IM
AOL has released the first AIM 6.8 Beta build, which includes new Real-Time IM feature (RTIM). This feature lets you and the person you are chatting with see what is being typed in real-time, as it is being typed. Normally, you can’t read a message from your buddy until it is sent and appears in the IM window. RTIM currently works only if both users have AIM 6.8 or higher. The Beta 1 build of AIM 6.8 can be downloaded from the AOL Beta Center.

Fring Adds Yahoo and AIM Support
Fring, a free mobile VoIP application enables you to make voice calls, chat and check out who’s online before dialing, has recently added support for both Yahoo and AOL’s AIM instant messaging services. However, voice support for the two new IM platforms has not been added. Skype, Google Talk, ICQ, MSN Messenger, and Twitter were already supported. 

Fring is compatible with Symbian 8, 9.1, 9.2, Windows Mobile 5 & 6 and UIQ handsets. It works by using Internet capabilities already embedded within a subscriber’s handset to establish a peer-to-peer VoIP connection between calling parties, enabling true VoIP sessions between Fring enabled handsets and also between handsets and PCs. It can be downloaded for free from the Fring beta Web site.

VTech Cordless Phone Offers IM and IV

VTech IS6110

VTech IS6110

Mobile phones with IM has been common for some time now, but Cordless phone manufacturer VTech Communications has introduced the IS6110 model — the first cordless phone system to offers a full-QWERTY keyboard along with offering its users the option to make and receive landline calls or instant messages or instant voice (IV) for peer-to-peer calling. The cordless phone simply needs to be connected to a standard landline outlet and to a PC using the included USB cord. The IS6110 offers support for AIM, MSN and Windows Live Messenger and is expected to be available at retail outlets and online in the first half of 2008 with a MSRP of $99.95.

Mobile IM News Round-up

New Skype-enabled Devices for 2008
At the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Skype announced support for a wide variety of new wireless devices and accessories. A variety of new wireless devices and accessories will offer mobile support for Skype’s free instant messaging and voice calling among and also for Skype premium features including SkypeOut, which offers users cheap calls from Skype to traditional landlines or mobile phones and SkypeIn, a personal and portable Skype number that people can call from anywhere in the world.  Some of the new wireless devices and accessories include:

  • 3 Skypephone: Introduced together with mobile operator 3, this new affordable mass market 3G wireless handset lets users make Skype-to-Skype calls and send Skype instant messages from their mobile phone to other Skype users no matter where they are. The 3 Skypephone is available in the UK, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Sweden, and will soon be available in Hong Kong.
  • Freetalk Wireless Stereo Headset: A wireless Stereo Headset, enabled by the new AvneraAudio technology, delivers CD-quality sound and the freedom of hands-free Skype calls at any time.
  • Nokia N810 Internet Tablet: A sleek, pocket-sized WiFi device with a slide-out keyboard which frees Skype users from their desktop, allowing Skype-to-Skype conversations and SkypeOut calls to take place in any WiFi connection, including thousands of Boingo Wireless and Earthlink WiFi hotspot locations.
  • PSP (PlayStation Portable):  With a simple system software update slated for late January, PSP users worldwide will be able to make free voice calls to other Skype users, see which friends are online and available to talk, and — with the purchase of Skype Credit — make cheap SkypeOut calls and receive SkypeIn calls.

Sony Debuts The Mylo COM-2
At CES Sony also debuted its latest version of the Mylo communicator, the Mylo COM-2. First launched in 2006, the original Mylo did not offer support for AOL Messenger, but the new Mylo communicator offers AIM support in addition to Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, and Skype IM accounts. Messaging functionality lets user access contact lists and also send and receive multiple messages simultaneously. The new design is offered in black or white and also features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a 3.5″ touch screen, 1GB of internal memory along with a 1.3 megapixel camera and photo editing software.

The Mylo is not a cellphone but it can be used to make free Skype-to-Skype voice calls. Unlike most PDAs the mylo also does not require a monthly service contract with a carrier to get Internet access. Instead, it relies on Wi-Fi access via hotspots and WLANs. The Mylo COM-2 will be available this month at a suggested retail price of $300 direct from Sony online.  More details on the Sony’s Mylo COM-2 CES  debut can be found on Wi-Fi Planet.

EQO Announces New Symbian Beta
EQO (pronounced “echo”) has announced a new Symbian Beta Program for Nokia Series 60 3rd Edition phones that is compatible with all major IM services including MSN, AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk, QQ, ICQ and Jabber. EQO is a free application that brings free instant messaging, cheap calling and cheap texting to your mobile phone.  The new Symbian beta also offers performance improvements, better connection management, native call button and log integration, and other changes.

IM Security and Research

Mobile Messages Sent To Reach 2.3 Trillion
According to a recent Gartner research study, 2.3 trillion messages will be sent across major markets worldwide in 2008, an increase of just over 19 percent from the total sent in 2007. The analyst firm also predicts that mobile messaging revenue across major markets will grow in 2008 to $60.2 billion, up from $52 billion in 2007. Overall, Gartner research says that the Asia/Pacific and Japan regions are the biggest consumers of mobile messaging with 1.5 trillion messages sent in 2007.

FaceTime 2007 Malware Findings
FaceTime Communications recently announced its findings of 2007 IM, chat and P2P network malware trends that are affecting enterprise networks. Over the course of the past year 1,088 total incidents were reported.  MSN Messenger was the biggest culprit with 45 percent of threats, followed by 20 percent on Yahoo, 19 percent on the AOL Instant Messenger network, and a total of 15 percent on all other IM networks, including Jabber-based IM private networks. In 2007, researchers saw a shift in the non-IM vectors used to distribute viruses, malware and spyware. Most notable is the rise in IRC-distributed attacks: in 2006, IRC accounted for 58 percent of attacks, rising to 72 percent by year-end 2007.

Akonix Tracks 18 New Attacks
Akonix Systems‘ IM Security Center researchers say they have tracked 18 new malicious code attacks over instant messaging networks in December, bringing the 2007 total to 346. New IM worms identified in December include Cargar, Etest and YMWorm. Etest, Mytob and Sohana were the most common with two variants each. In addition, attacks on P2P networks, such as Kazaa and eDonkey, increased 125 percent in December with 27 attacks.

Have an interesting bit of Instant Messaging news or event information you’d like to contribute to the IM News & Trends Watch? Tell us about it.

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