Trutap races to be the mobile IM aggregator of choice

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If instant messaging, and now mobile IM is a commodity market, then UK-based mobile startup Trutap has decided to try and become the aggregator of choice for the mainstream consumer. The TechCrunch40 finalist from 2007 now supports a host of IM protocols, accessible from within a slick Java interface. However it’s in a race with startups like Mig33, Nimbuzz, eBuddy, Palringo and MXit.

Trutap now supports MSN, Yahoo!, AIM, ICQ Facebook Chat, Google Talk, Rediff Bol and Jabber. But the list will be joined, in the next few weeks by MySpace, Gadu-Gadu, LiveJournal IM, Bonjour, Groupwise, IRC, XMPP, Sametime and Zephyr. As well as IM, Trutap offers free group messaging, as well as the ability to posting content to Blogger, Typepad and Photobucket. The additional IM services are alredy available within the current application, so there’s no need for users to upgrade their application. Ultimately, that will be more IM services than any other mobile application in the world, Trutap claims.

Trutap’s Java based app, which has 250,000 users so far, is really aimed at the feature-phone market, not smartphones, and in particular the massive mobile markets associated with emerging countries like Brazil and Russia. While the world seems in love with the iPhone, the reality is that the biggest mobile applications market remains Java.

Competitors include Fring, which recently launched an iPhone app and opened an API to developers, but Trutap also competes on different levels with startups like Mig33, Nimbuzz and MXit in South Africa. But Trutap has been smart to stay away from VOIP, which means they can deal more easily with operators and get the application pre-loaded onto handsets where possible. This also applies to eBuddy which requires no download and lives in the Cloud. On the iPhone Palringo has made a lot of traction and recently launched location-based services.

Mig33, by contrast, mixes up VoIP – anathema to most operators – with plugs into social networking and IM services, as does Nimbuzz. And while Nimbuzz has a rather heavy application download at around 1MB, Trutap’s comes in at less than 400k.

  • Kim Curtis

    I would love to know how many people think that IM aggregation built into their enterprise chat support application (ie Liveperson) is important.

    Is it necessary?
    Nice to have?
    Or Unimportant?

    • Zach Weisman

      Its all about killing BBM.

  • james (mjelly)

    I would like to see Trutap launch a mobile web site for IM a bit like – but great to see the product keeps developing – they have quite a big user base now i reckon.

    • Gustaf

      Thanks James. We (Heysan) have close to 600,000 users over mobile web. US and UK are by far our strongest markets but we’ve also moved way beyond being a mobile IM aggregator. The majority of our traffic is between our own users today. The problem with most of the applications Mike is writing about is their choice of technology. The top selling devices in the US today will not run any of the applications above. Native applications and Java applications suffers from an increased fragmentation and everyone building for these platforms are taking huge technology risks that usually have to be backed up by huge investors simply to support client side development.

      This development is good. We’re moving towards a world where we for the first time have a standardized platform for mobile application development called the mobile web. Ben from Bluepulse wrote intelligently about this in the beginning of the summer:

      The title of the post is “race to be the mobile IM aggregator of choice. The fact that you can switch between these interfaces suggest that there is little lock-in in being the “IM aggregator of choice”. Very little value are being built imo.

      Gustaf, co-founder of Heysan

      • Lior Tal

        When trying to find the golden path between wide device support and high grade of user experience, the porting and costs problem push many content providers to settle for a lower than optimal common denominator, which in turn prevent user adoption of the service.

        We at Moblica have a different approach to the problem. We circumvent the porting problem yet provide the look and feel of native applications.

        You can try it out at –

        Our Java client currently works on hundreds of devices, without the need to adapt the applications. These apps are offered to the users OTA once having installed the client.

  • vrempire really makes me feel dizzy for the fast phase of the IT web application. Wish I can try all of the above.

  • chn

    The article conspicuously fails to mention meebo

    • CG

      Does meebo have a mobile service?

  • Thomas

    I’ve been using Palringo on my WinMo for months and it’s awesome.

  • Andrew Finkle

    Unless they also suppport Twitter = FAIL

  • really makes me feel dizzy for the fast phase of the IT web application. Wish I can try all of the above.

  • dm

    I rock Palringo on my iPhone and, despite its name, its excellent.

  • Sam Sethi

    I recently did a review of these IM aggregators for one of the companies you listed. I would argue that many of these companies only aggregate web 1.0 IM clients – MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, AOL etc and that people would be more interested in aggregation of web 2.0 clients like Twitter, Friendfeed, Skype etc.

    Several companies not mentioned are Digsby, AlertThingy and Twhirl which are more useful for aggregating the web 2.0 conversation.

    Right now on the iPhone there are single clients for Facebook, Twitter and Skype but if one of the companies mentioned could actually produce an aggregated mobile client for these new conversation portals I would certainly be one of the first people to try it out.

    Sadly products like Trutap, etc are much like Adium on my Mac. Downloaded used once or twice and then left dormant. I guess we are all waiting for XMPP to become the universal protocol but there is no incentive for Microsoft or Yahoo to open their walled gardens to join Google, Jabber and AOL. Hopefully when Friendfeed and Twitter eventually support XMPP we might begin to see some commercial pressure applied to the incumbents.

  • Music Plugin

    We have started using ZopIM, to interact with our site users. Zopim is not exactly in the same class, but does challenge Meebo and LivePerson to some extent. So far, quite impressed with the feature set.

    Will update here in the future with our experience after a month or so.

    • icewolf

      I’m thinking of using ZopIM for my website too. Any advice? Is it really good?


  • kmbjo

    how do ANY ofthese companies make money though…?

    • Kim Curtis

      They create massive user bases and then get acquired by a capitalist company that knows how to convert a small fraction of the existing users into paying customers.

      • Neils Brooks

        Plus frugal (read: yucky) web design & branding helps reduce overhead in the interim.

  • Jamie

    This must be one of the most competitive areas in mobile software, and Trutap do seem well poised. There are plenty of other players too, for example Papaya, which adds cheap SMS, VOIP and online games, and Belysio, which adds Twitter integration and location based alerts. The IM functionality appears to be the common feature in all the apps.
    Some of the apps seem to want to become the mobile point of entry (for simple activities anyway) to your entire online life, with all the Facebook, MySpace, LiveJournal, Blogger, Flickr etc support. It will be fun watching how it all pans out…

  • Rafael

    hmm… cd somebody (maybe the author) explain the diff between jabber and xmpp?

    i thought the people at techcrunch knew the difference

    p.s. there is NONE !

  • Nicholas Avenell

    Rafael: There isn’t, but there’s a difference between supporting jabber accounts and generic xmpp services

  • ahuvah

    i use Fring and i love using their platform.

  • kimbjo

    if you build it, someone will buy you. that’s the business model?

    yah but who will buy these guys???

  • Binyamin

    And you forgot the most acomplished IM mobile ever:
    FRING which also embed SIP protocol and Gtalk, Icq,..
    See here:

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    Looks like Fring is really posting messages to promote their product. How low can you go….

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