AIM and the Samsung Fascinate
Samsung Fascinate Cellphone

There was a time that AIM - or the AOL Instant Messenger - was a standard on the web that many people used for quick communications. Nowadays it seems like there are thousands of instant messaging clients, and cell phones added a whole new twist to the situation. Still, many people still use AIM, and putting AIM on your Samsung Fascinate is a great way to stay in touch with all those users whether they're on PCs or other cell phones.

Yes, cell phones have text plans - but usually that is a separate charge from a data plan. If you already have a data plan already, you can then use AIM to do texting to other AIM users, for "free". There's no texting charge to use AIM, it's all part of the data plan. The AIM software itself is free for both PCs and phones.

When you install the AIM app on your Fascinate it connects to all your established contacts from your AIM account, so you don't have to re-enter them. It lets you have multiple AIM accounts set up so it's easy to one-click move amongst them. The contacts ("buddies") are neatly organized into whatever categories you hav set up. You can see at a glance who is online and what their status messages are.

Conversations are easy to manage. They type, you type, you see the series of messages. If they send a message to you while you're not in AIM, you'll get a buzz and an icon so you know to go read it.

My son uses AIM, so this is my way to stay in touch with him. It's easy, free, and there's no texting charges at all!

So if you want to send text messages WITHOUT a text messaging plan, this will work as long as you can get the recipients to have AIM installed! :)

Note that you can also use this to send messages to people who have text plans, as long as they are willing to do a little work. AIM has a feature where you can have it forward your AIM messags to your cell phone's text stream. So say my nephew has a phone that only handles text messages. He would set up AIM on his home PC and set it to forward his messages to his cell phone. When I want to contact him, I use AIM to send him an AIM message. That message is then auto forwarded to his cell phone as a text message. The down side is he can't "respond" - his cell phone can only deal with text messages, not with applications. Still, at least he can get those text messages.

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