Trillian In Review – Mobile Multi-Protocol chat from the TrilliOne

Chat clients are a fairly big part of the “social” section of the appstore.  The most popular spots are reserved for the “multi-protocol” clients that allow you to login to services like MSN, Yahoo and even Facebook Chat all at once.  There have been some huge ones in the past but one that I had been waiting on for sometime was Cerulean Studios’ Trillian.  With 10 years’ experience, they are far from new at this and I was excited to see what this recently updated chat program had to offer.

The Trillian chat client is part of the “Astra” series that they have been releasing from closed beta over the last year or so on various platforms.  Design wise it fits very well with the other clients and on your iDevice, it just looks smooth, clean and very well put together.

I was a little disappointed that they didn’t try to push the envelope more (which can be taken care of through themes in the future maybe). However, they did a great job of keeping it in line with other native apps you use, so the familiarity is there.

If you’ve ever used an sms or chat client on your iDevice (multi-proc or otherwise) then you will have no problem navigating the controls.  Chatting is similar to sms in that your conversation appears as a series of bubbles.  They also beefed it up a bit by adding the ability to send photos from the camera or albums as well as view the users info.  Bottom navigation is a simple 4 button setup that shows: your friends list, a “favorites” section where you can setup your favorite chat buddies, a link to all/any active chats and an accounts link that brings you to your settings.

If you use Trillian Astra on any other device (mac,pc or browser), you don’t even have to set up a new account. Just log into your existing Trillian account and all your contacts and groups will be imported right into the app.  Comes in handy if you have a lot of “meta-contacts” (multiple chat accounts/clients with 1 person).  Instead of EVERY single account active, you only have one per person, if you set that up.  Unfortunately though, for now you cannot setup meta-contacts in the app itself.  Another unfortunate omission is the inability to link a chat friend to a contact card on your phone.  Until now I had been using Beejive and that was one of my favorite features of it.

Aside from those few missing features, it really is a pretty well packed initial release.  Most of the usual favorites are available (landscape mode, contact groups/sorting, you can stay logged in for up to 7 days).  One really nice feature I liked is the ability to automatically set yourself to away whenever you close the app.  That way if you close the app and put your phone down, you don’t look like a jerk for not getting back to someone right away.  I know I haven’t pointed out ALL of the features but if you check it out in the app store you’ll see that it would have taken up most of the review just listing those.

In the end I would say that I am happy with Trillian. I think that if Cerulean Studios can either add themes or tweak the design a bit, and add some more “on-device” customisations like contact linking and the ability to add/create meta-contacts, Trillian could very easily find itself on the top of a relatively small pile of well made, multi-protocol chat clients.  I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a nice, clean, client that may not be #1 now, but has the potential (and the proven history) to become the best.

App Summary
Title: TrillianDeveloper: Cerulean Studios, LLC
Reviewed Ver:1.1.0.128Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$4.99App Size:3.0 MB
  • Well designed “native” look
  • Many available protocols
  • Instant account sync with other “Trillian Astra” account
  • Lacking theme/customizing options
  • Cannot link chat contacts to existing phone contacts
  • Unable to create meta-contacts on device

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