Palringo is rocking away; still a Tweet killer

If you haven’t taken a look at Palringo recently, you should. Way back at the beginning of 2008, we took a close look at the mobile instant messaging service and thought it had the basics in place to make it a must-have, top-of-the-pack service offering. We had some real concerns about the user interface: Namely that it wasn’t that intuitive — although, it did make sense if you sat and looked at it for a while. The other issue was openness. It’s all very well being able to click-open-camera-take-picture and woosh, have it uploaded into a particular conversation or room — the issue for me was getting that photographic data off the Palringo system and on to, say, Flickr — or somewhere else.

I wanted my Palringo data to be exported out to Twitter, and perhaps even as a daily digest post here on the Mobile Industry Review. These kind of things are, I understand, in the works.

The real focus however has been on location. They’re going nuts with it. To the point that they’ve applied for a patent for their bluetooth-wifi-gsm/operator-GPS location service. Kerry, the CEO, demonstrated the service to us today and it’s a piece of genius.

So much so that James Whatley left the interview half way through to go and install it. We rate Palringo *that* much. Indeed that’s why they won the recent Best IM Service award here at Mobile Industry Review.

We’d like to see a bit more two-point-ohish stuff. Bind it with the likes of — in fact, Palringo should buy and open themselves out to kill Twitter.

Even back in January we were confidently asserting that Palringo has/had the potential to knock the basic text update/IM services such as Twitter on the head. It used to wind me up chronically when I got Twitter messages from people saying words to the effect of ‘I’ve taken a picture. Click here to see it: http://some.url’.


How stupid.

It really pointed to just how shit our collective infrastructure is when folk were sending URLs around as Twitter messages.

It pointed to the huge need for inline images. You want the ability to take a pic and send it into one of your lifestreams and have folk be able to see it immediately. That’s what Palringo will do.

And a lot, lot more. How about in-line audio messages sent into your lifestreams? Yup. It’s smart and it’s right there waiting for you.

However the new location based services Kerry was demonstrating to us blew our socks off. Expect to see a Blackberry and Windows Mobile service with this included in the next few weeks.

If you haven’t downloaded Palringo recently, get hold of it and see what you make of it.

I still think it needs a total rework from a user interface viewpoint both on-handset and (heavily) online. But it’s getting there and swiftly moving to a hugely powerful proposition.

We’ll have Kerry’s video interview up online shortly — most probably in this week’s MIR Show (Week 43) going live on Monday.

Download Palringo by pointing your browser to

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

18 replies on “Palringo is rocking away; still a Tweet killer”

“You want the ability to take a pic and send it into one of your lifestreams and have folk be able to see it immediately. That’s what Palringo will do”

Interestingly, that's one of the main reasons I no longer use I use the mobile sites like and twitstat which show images in line and un-shorten URLs.

Palringo is by no means a “Twitter killer” the two are fundamentally different. You all know my views on Palringo – it's is a wicked instant messenger. The fact that Twitter allows for IM like functionality belies it's actual power. Twitter is a hardcore messaging platform, designed to support third party services.

No IM and no SMS mean no usable interface for me. I'm not running another app just for twitter. They need to architect their stuff properly or just fuck off.

Not sure it's worth the effort trying to reason this out but hell let's give it a go…

From the conversations I've had over the last couple of years it is apparent that Twitter was designed to provide a messaging platform for applications/services – the first use case of which was Twitter as we know it, a social IM if you like. Twitter have grown the service (IM) to the point where it has stress tested the infrastructure to and beyond breaking point, gone back and rearchitected / fixed / tweaked / whatever so as to get things as robust, stable and scalable as possible.

I don't think the guys there ever anticipated the platform's primary use as the IM it essentially is, rather as a service orientated message routing platform with cool things like source based routing built into the syntax.

Now that isn't to say that i) the current interface is anything but crap, or ii) that A.N.Other company cannot utilise the platform to build a better service.

To that end applications like Tweetdeck go a long way to solving the first problem of UX.

I'm by no mean qualified to critique Twitter's technical architecture or protocols but looking at it as an ecosystem enabling messaging platform I reckon it has legs in it yet.

twitter is about as hardcore a platform as a house of flumps.

its lovely – but its over capacity/down half the time
it cant cope with converstaions/comments
and its not great at extending beyond pure html devices.

i still love it – but its not a do it all thing.

I'm not convinced, Barney.

What was described is XMPP, a messaging platform for applications or services that just happens to be really good at IM. If Twitter had been built on top of an existing XMPP platform it probably wouldn't have had so many issues later in life.

I have intimate knowledge of the Odeo platform that these guys built before Twitter and that had some really shoddy architecture! Given it's performance I'd take an educated guess that Twitter started out as a similar collection of hacks and hasn't fared well since.

It's a shame that so many people still use Twitter, it's userbase is it's only strong point! If they all moved to Jaiku (which, admittedly has had it's own share of growing pains but has restored SMS and IM functionality) we'd all be much better off!

Okay – again let's separate out Twitter into the two core 'things'

The social application – you're right it doesn't support threading, has some scaling problems

The platform – is more than capable of supporting threading, extends brilliantly using HTTP

I think the real problem is that so many people see Twitter as a single (and limited) use application, not a demonstration of how an application can be built over a messaging platform.

Dan – I'm not going to defend Twitters choice of protocol or server architecture. To be honest the underlying protocol doesn't / shouldn't matter as long as it lays on top of HTTP. If you ignore the rather flaky social tool that is Twitter and look at the concept of building a simple messaging platform with routing, an open api and the ability for it to be utilised for social and application messaging then Twitter isn't bad.

Does that mean they were right to go off and try to reinvent the wheel – no, IMHO they should have really gone down the Jabber route and laid source based routing on top.

And you know I prefer Jaiku (as a social tool) right?

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