imo: Multi-Network IM Updated With a Tablet Interface

I just moved into my own apartment for the first time, and it’s been hectic dealing with all the additional responsibility of holding down the fort by myself. I find myself spending a lot of time in the kitchen — cooking, doing the dishes and putting things away — and I’m glad I have a tablet to keep me company. I follow recipes on YouTube and BBC’s incredible recipe guide and of course, keep tabs on friends on Twitter. Now I can chat with them all too, thanks to the recently updated imo.

Imo  – which we have reviewed earlier – lets you link your IM accounts and chat with your contacts on 11 networks, including MSN, Skype, Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, AIM/ICQ, Jabber, VKontakte, Hyves and Steam. The app has been updated to take advantage of the extra screen real estate offered by larger devices, and now not only looks great, but also throws in two new features that are worth a look.


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imo for Tablets

While imo has always offered users the ability to chat on multiple networks, it hasn’t ever looked this good. On a tablet, imo allows you to view multiple panes at once, so that you can easily switch between conversations without really backing out of a screen. These panes, including the contact list, options and additional chat actions swipe into view from left and right in landscape mode, allowing you to find someone new to talk to or to send a picture, in a flash.

imo's attractive tablet-optimized interface

imo’s attractive tablet-optimized interface

In portrait mode, conversations take up the entire screen but you can swipe left or right to access the other panes quickly. Both layouts look crisp and clean, and allow you to enjoy your chats without ads and fluff. I also liked how imo’s latest version shows mini message windows on your lock screen which you can quickly reply from, and also how your last contact action (send an image, include an emoticon, search history and so on) becomes accessible via a small button by the message composition field.

Send Voice IMs, images and more from the action pane on the right

Send Voice IMs, images and more from the action pane on the right

New Features

Imo recently introduced two new features to make their app even more useful. The first is location sharing; with a tap, you can instantly share your location with a contact — doing so from the action menu (swipes out from right) pastes your current location in text and as a Google Maps URL in your chat. Whatsapp users have enjoyed this for a while, and it’s nice to finally be able to do this on other messaging networks.

View and share your location with your contacts easily

View and share your location with your contacts easily

The second feature is NFC sharing, which lets you share your contacts with another imo user by touching your devices together back-to-back. This only works on Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC One X, and Asus Nexus 7 devices, but I unfortunately couldn’t get it to work, even with two of the listed devices. I’m also not sure I’d use this feature very much since I find touching phones and tablets together a bit awkward — but that’s on NFC, and not on imo per se.

Wrapping Up

Imo has always been a solid choice for a multi-network IM, as it has some nifty features like voice IMs, group chat and group photo sharing, the ability to add contacts to your home screen for quick access, and chat history. And with the updated interface, it no longer looks clumsy on larger devices. If you’re looking for a way to keep your conversations going while on the move, give imo a try.


Summary

imo is a multi-network Instant Messenger, with a newly updated interface that scales well on tablets. It also offers group chats, picture, voice and location sharing, as well as chat history.

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