Treo Instant Messenger Roundup

Review: Treo Instant Messenger Roundup

November 19, 2005

One of the numerous advantages of having the wireless capability of the Treo 650 is the ability to communicate wherever you are. Of course you can choose to do this by calling, emailing or using text messages. Another option is Instant Messaging, a functionality that is offered by the larger ISPs to communicate with your buddies in real-time. With the wireless freedom of smartphones, it was only natural that developers would come up with a way to take Instant Messaging from your desktop to your Treo.

We took a look at three of the most popular instant messenger
programs for the Treo that allow you to chat anywhere you go using your MSN, Yahoo, AOL IM or Jabber account.

The Playing Field

When it comes to Instant Messaging on the Palm, there are dozens of options. While a few of them offer you the chance to chat on one platform,
in this review I chose to focus on the three programs that allow multi-client messaging. All of these programs allow you chat on MSN, AOL IM, Yahoo, ICQ and Jabber.
After trying several messaging application, I narrowed down the field to 3 unique ones that have distinct qualities from each other:

  • IM+ This is a relative new-comer that offers instant messaging through MSN, AIM, Yahoo and Jabber.
  • Chatopus Chatopus is a Jabber client which allows the user to set up a transport to communicate with buddies on MSN, Yahoo and AIM.
  • VeriChat Probably the most recognized Instant Messenger application, Verichat provides communication with MSN, AIM and Yahoo.
    VeriChat also allows for the creation of bots or wireless information agents. Note: This product has been discontinued and is no longer available.

IM Features

The most important features of an Instant Messaging application can be broken three categories:

  • Setup
  • Ease of use
  • Price


If you are like me, reading the instructions is something to be done in case all else fails. I find that with a Treo, the fun is in loading up softwware
and then figuring out the details later. And judging from what goes on in the Everything Treo forums, I am apparently not the only one. Verichat seems to understand
this completely, and their whole experience offers on-screen instructions and tips. IM+ has a relatively simple Transport setup screen where you
are able to input the sign on information for each platform. Chatopus requires that you have a Jabber account which must be configured before you can use the system.
Chatopus is certainly not intended for the simple chatter. You need to configure a desktop Jabber client (most, like Exodus, are free) then find the
appropriate transport to connect to each platform. If you are already a Jabber user, then Chatopus is an excellent option for you. Otherwise, be prepared for a
rather steep learning curve.

Ease Of Use

The layout of all 3 applications is pretty much the same, and gives you a listing of your buddies with indications for their current status and client.
Chatopus and Verichat give you full navigation via the Treos 5-way navigation pad while IM+ seems to miss the mark by not incorporating one-handed navigation.
IM+, unlike Verichat and Chatopus, does not give you the option to rename your buddies, which I find to be wholly necessary in order to give some of your buddies
more easily recognizable monikers.


At a one time fee of $16.95, Chatopus is definitely the least expensive multi-platform IM client. It is definitely worth it to work with Jabber to realize the savings.
IM+ retails at 29.95, which is not bad for a product that is constantly being updated (assuming you can live with its shortcomings).
Verichat charges an annual fee of $24.95 per year which may be considered steep but is relatively offset by the ease of use.


With a Treo smartphone, you have several options when it comes to Instant Messenger programs. VeriChat, IM+ and Chatopus all offer multi-client capability allowing you to chat on popular networks including MSN, Yahoo and AOL. For ease of use, VeriChat and IM+ are the best bets for instant messaging on your Treo. If you are familiar with Jabber, then Chatopus is less expensive option worthy of consideration. All programs offer a try before you buy option, but just be sure to use one at a time.

Visit our forums to discuss Instant Messaging on your Treo.

VeriChat is no longer available.

Chatopus retails for $16.95.

IM+ retails for $29.95.

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