Motorola Inc. and America Online Inc. (AOL) are working together to offer chat-happy users wireless phone handsets with a built-in version of the AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service, the companies said Monday.
The IM-embedded handsets will be available in the first half of this year, a Motorola spokeswoman said. She did not disclose how many handset models would include AIM.
The partnership between the tech titans reflects the widespread popularity of instant messaging, which has experienced booming growth over the last few years. AOL alone sends over one billion IMs a day, the company said.
Users will be able to see when their family, friends and coworkers are available on their handsets through AIM's Buddy List feature, and can send them IMs rather than call them. This option can be an advantage when users are in a quiet location or need to send discreet communication, the companies said.
For Motorola, the deal allows the company an opportunity to offer wireless carriers more text-based services. Although AIM is a free service, wireless carriers usually charge customers for sending text messages.