Instant-messagers, take heart: Now you can chat with your buddies when you're away from your PC. AOL's new Mobile Messenger provides wireless versions of both AOL E-Mail and AIM (AOL Instant Messaging) for two-way pagers. Based on Arch Communications' two-way paging network and using the BellSouth Intelligent Wireless Network as a backbone, Mobile Messenger is part of a larger rollout of AOL Wireless services starting later this year that will also offer a myriad of news and services.
To boost its wireless efforts, AOL has announced partnerships with wireless vendors and carriers. For example, a co-branded version of Motorola's TimePort P935 Personal Interactive Communicator using AOL's Mobile Messenger will hit in the second half of this year; it will be the first of many wireless collaborations between the two companies. A similar alliance with two-way pager start-up Research in Motion in Waterloo, Ontario, will produce a co-branded, two-way Internet appliance in coming months as well. And AOL is even moving into smart phones, having just announced a deal with Nokia that calls for AIM support in Nokia phones and other devices, the first of which should arrive before year-end.
Eric Brown, a regular contributor to pcworld.com, is a freelance writer living in the Boston area.