There a new version of AOL’s instant messaging app AIM available in the iTunes App store as of yesterday.
It allows users to integrate their Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr accounts into something called the “Lifestream.”
And, in a surprise, it’s not free — costing $2.99.
That makes the app unlike AOL’s other 10 apps, but a lot like several of the most popular Twitter apps in the iTunes Store, which can cost as much as five bucks.
The market has been set, and AOL is smart to not try to undercut it if it doesn’t have to. iPhone and iPod Touch users have shown that they’re willing pay for really slick apps.
Problem is, AIM isn’t quite a really slick Twitter/Facebook app just yet. It’s fantastic for instant messaging, but the “Lifestream” integration remains awkward and clunky.
Users have to leave the app to pull in activity streams from other sites like Twitter and Facebook. Even then, the Facebook Connect integration didn’t even work for us.
Another problem is that the Lifestream gets very cluttered with lots of status updates from the people on the AIM buddy list. That’s annoying, because the people we follow on Twitter and the people we communicate with on AIM don’t always overlap. Also, AIM status updates tend to be very static.
Still, there’s lots of promise here and its great to see AOL actively innovating on both the development and business side.
To add an activity stream from Facebook or Twitter, you have to leave the AIM app and pick around in Safari. Not easy! Why?
New Feature: Share your location. Some will find this creepy. But lots of people like to overshare.
One great carry-over feature: AIM stores your contacts, and allows you to text them for free. Handy!