Ping! for iPad review
We review Ping! An IM client for iPad — it's sort of like the one on the iPhone, only tweaked for an improved tablet experience
Apple went to some lengths to convince us the iPad was a computer and not a phone, or a big PMP. One of the slightly counterintuitive methods they used to convince us of this was to leave out certain core functionalities that are usually associated with mobile phones, such as phone calling or text messaging.
The first makes sense, the iPad would make an incredibly impractical mobile phone, but an SMS inbox synced with iPhone that'd be awesome right? Yeah well they didn't do that. But there is a free SMS style instant messaging app that does pretty much that. And it's probably one you're familiar with – it’s called Ping!.
The most popular of the SMS replacement apps currently on the iPhone has made its way to the iPad and if you're used to using the iPhone app, you'll know pretty much what to expect.
The interface itself has been spruced up somewhat, with a nice corkboard and wood effect background. In landscape mode your contacts and their conversation histories are on the left hand panel, with the right had window being used for viewing and composing messages.
The beauty that sets Ping apart from other IM SMS replacements is the reliability and pace of its push notifications. In our tests, Ping! IMs arrived four times faster than text messages. Other competitors like textPlus, which claim to have more features, are massively unreliable with IMs taking hours to arrive and sometimes not at all.
Finding your chums on Ping is a seamless process, as long as you know their Ping username. There are a few features, which could make this app better though, the ability to add contacts from your gmail contacts, or to sync your contacts list with the app. Emoticon and picture messaging would be pretty sweet too and are offered by other mobile IM services.
The interface too can sometimes be a bit buggy. The composition box can disappear when switched between landscape and portrait and the compose icon can sometimes disappear altogether.
But as with an IM app, it's only as useful as long as your chums own it, which they might well not, so you're going to have to do some serious lobbying on behalf of Ping!. But if you're willing to do it, it's more than worth it.
At £2.99 it's a great addition to your iPad’s functionality. Apple might well add an IM feature into the next iteration of the iPad but we can't see that happening until the iPad 2 is announced – which won’t be at least until April 2011