eBuddy Debuts Premium iPhone App

Nearly five months after launching a free, ad-supported application for iPhone and iPod Touch, eBuddy is today introducing a paid version of the program, which enables users to communicate with contacts across various instant messaging clients.

Priced at $4.99 (iTunes link), which in my opinion is fairly expensive, the app lets you chat with friends on Facebook Chat, ICQ, Gtalk, AIM, MySpace, Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo Messenger alike.

Unlike its gratis counterpart, eBuddy Pro for iPhone and iPod Touch is advertisement-free, and boasts a couple more features that the company hopes people will be willing to pay for:

– push notifications for incoming messages when the app is closed (for up to 3 days)
– the ability to transfer photos from the device to friends without leaving the app interface
– the option to set your display picture from your camera or photo library

The application also lets you switch between chat conversations by swiping the screen of your iPhone or iPod Touch (handy) and sends out a buzzer when the device is shaken. The Netherlands-based company promises more features will be included in future updates (e.g. landscape mode).

Ebuddy says over 2.5 million people have download the free iPhone application to date, while (only) some 180,000 downloads have been registered for the Android app. The free iPhone app was ad-free until today – and the company recently partnered with India’s InMobi to increase its mobile advertising revenue and will start doing that now that the premium app is available in the App Store.

Alternatives to eBuddy Pro include IM+ and Beejive (both cost more – feature sets vary).