Trutap races to be the mobile IM aggregator of choice

If instant messaging, and now mobile IM is a commodity market, then UK-based mobile startup Trutap has decided to try and become the aggregator of choice for the mainstream consumer. The TechCrunch40 finalist from 2007 now supports a host of IM protocols, accessible from within a slick Java interface. However it’s in a race with startups like Mig33, Nimbuzz, eBuddy, Palringo and MXit.

Trutap now supports MSN, Yahoo!, AIM, ICQ Facebook Chat, Google Talk, Rediff Bol and Jabber. But the list will be joined, in the next few weeks by MySpace, Gadu-Gadu, LiveJournal IM, Bonjour, Groupwise, IRC, XMPP, Sametime and Zephyr. As well as IM, Trutap offers free group messaging, as well as the ability to posting content to Blogger, Typepad and Photobucket. The additional IM services are alredy available within the current application, so there’s no need for users to upgrade their application. Ultimately, that will be more IM services than any other mobile application in the world, Trutap claims.

Trutap’s Java based app, which has 250,000 users so far, is really aimed at the feature-phone market, not smartphones, and in particular the massive mobile markets associated with emerging countries like Brazil and Russia. While the world seems in love with the iPhone, the reality is that the biggest mobile applications market remains Java.

Competitors include Fring, which recently launched an iPhone app and opened an API to developers, but Trutap also competes on different levels with startups like Mig33, Nimbuzz and MXit in South Africa. But Trutap has been smart to stay away from VOIP, which means they can deal more easily with operators and get the application pre-loaded onto handsets where possible. This also applies to eBuddy which requires no download and lives in the Cloud. On the iPhone Palringo has made a lot of traction and recently launched location-based services.

Mig33, by contrast, mixes up VoIP – anathema to most operators – with plugs into social networking and IM services, as does Nimbuzz. And while Nimbuzz has a rather heavy application download at around 1MB, Trutap’s comes in at less than 400k.