Exclusive First Look: BeeJiveIM 2.0 for iPhone

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If you’re a regular IM user with an iPhone, chances are you’ve heard of BeeJiveIM. Long established as a top choice IM app for BlackBerry, the iPhone release rocketed up to the #2 best selling application in the iTunes Social Networking category for 2008 – even with the eye-widening $16 price tag.

On Tuesday, January 6th, BeeJive will be pushing version 2.0 of BeeJiveIM for iPhone to the iTunes App Store. We were able to get our hands on a pre-release copy of it, and we’ve brought back pictures of everything new and noteworthy.

For the sake of folks scanning the page for word of a price drop: No such luck. BeeJive IM 2.0 will continue the $15.99 tradition set forth by the original release. The good news? If you’ve already purchased BeeJiveIM 1.0, the upgrade is free.

Image transfers:

Half of the fun of IM’ing on the go is sharing what’s around you, and BeeJive 2.0 does it really well. You just tap the top bar, tap the camera icon, and then choose a photo from your library or take a new one on the spot.

Transfers function well in both directions. From PC-to-iPhone, it shows up right in the chat. From iPhone-to-PC, it defaults to sending the image as a link, though users can change it to use the protocol’s default file transfer method.

Voice Notes:

Sometimes you just don’t want to type, but a full-on phone call seems like over doing it. Like a funky offspring of Push-to-talk and IM, “Voice notes” are becoming more and more common in IM apps – and now BeeJive’s doing it. Sending a voice note is similar to sending an image – tap the top bar, tap the microphone, record, and send away.

File transfers:

In addition to image sharing, BeeJive 2.0 can also handle incoming transfers of a whole bunch of file types, rendering them properly directly within the application. So far, we’ve tested and found support for a number of audio, video, and image formats, Office documents (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), and PDFs. You can also forward on transferred files to other buddies.

Address Book Linking:

Clicking a buddy’s icon brings you to that person’s Buddy Info, which now has a “Link to Address Book Card” button. If you’re frequently calling up the friends from your Buddy List whilst IM’ing, it’ll save you a few steps and keep you from needing to leave the application.

Sound Options:

It’s trivial, but it’s a nice touch: If you don’t like the IM sounds provided by BeeJive, you can configure it to use the default AIM or Yahoo sounds instead.

Image transferring was probably the most sorely missed feature of the original release, so that alone is enough to warrant the 2.0 label, with file transferring and voice notes coming in as tremendous bonuses. While the $16 price tag seems a bit crazy when surrounded by competing products going for as little as free, we’d still positively recommend BeeJive for heavy IM’ers – with this release, it does just about everything you could want of it, and it’s still the most stable and well designed IM app of the lot.