After trying a few of the web based AIM and being disappointed with all of them I remember the old trick I needed to use back in the day when there wasn’t a good AIM client for Pocket PC phones – use AIM over SMS. Before you do this make sure you have the unlimited messaging plan, it’s $20 – but worth it, otherwise you’ll end up getting a big bill when you go over all your SMS allotment super fast.

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For AT&T / Cingular customers just text your user name SPACE password to 265000.

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You can set up your address book for quick sign on, just add a contact with 265000 as the to address.

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After you text 265000 with your screen name and password. You’ll get a SMS back with a short list of your buddies.

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If you know the buddy name text 265010 with their screen name SPACE and a message. When they reply the SMS will be numbered, just hit reply and those text messages will go to that buddy.

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It looks and sounds like iChat, so it’s a lot like what you’d expect an iChat to be like.

Some other useful codes.

Text anything (The iPhone does not allow blank messages) to 265002 for your buddy list. You’ll see your buddies get assigned temporary short codes.
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Text anything (The iPhone does not allow blank messages) to 265001, that will sign you off.

There’s an entire PDF from AOL with tons of information on using AIM over SMS here – Link.

You can do the same with Yahoo, and since Yahoo and MSN work together now you can with Yahoo/MSN people too… – Link.

If this is too complicated you can sign on to AIM and have the instant messages forward to your phone here – Link. You can’t ping your buddy list, so it’s not as useful.