Fring and Nimbuzz are the two big multiple account chat applications out there and with the popularity of Wifi and data enabled SMS apps like Whatsapp and of course BBM, chat apps are slowly fading. However, they do have their supporters and developers and one Indian answer to Fring is Mundu IM Pro.

Mundu IM Pro works like any chat app. Set up which accounts you want to chat with (AIM, Facebook, GTalk, MSN, XMPP and Yahoo!) and you're good to go. You can select your background as one of your pictures from your photo albums or just use the default background. Innovative customizable features, that don't exist in Fring include the chat theme (you can use either bubbles, stripes or bubbles with avatar), saving chat history (from upto 7 days to forever), signing out after inactivity (from 15 minutes to 3 days).

It's the battle of the chat apps!

It's the battle of the chat apps!

So here's the down low. First all, the biggie is the cost. Mundu IM Pro costs $2.99 (Rs. 133) in the iOS App Store as well as the Android Market. Fring is free in both places. Mundu does have a free Lite version in both places which does not support many chat services like Yahoo, MSN, AOL and ICQ.  Fring can make international calls (by buying Fring credits) which Mundu IM Pro doesn't do. Fring supports clients like SIP, ICQ as well as Twitter which Mundu doesn't, but on the flip side, Mundu supports XMPP which Fring doesn't. The mandatory log out after inactivity on Mundu is a little pointless and an option should be available to never log out.

However, Mundu has some pretty important features that Fring lacks. First of all, Mundu allows you to add buddies from various accounts, be it GTalk, MSN or AIM. Fring only allows you to add Fring buddies. If someone adds you on GTalk, Fring will not show you that. Furthermore, with Mundu, you can choose to see offline buddies or not. Fring used to let you see offline buddies, but not anymore through a recent update. The view in Mundu is customizable, which isn't available in Fring, therefore user experience within chat windows is better. Finally, Mundu divides up chat streams by chat clients and then by contacts. In Fring, you don't know whether you're chatting via AIM or GTalk, unless you know the accounts, of course, and chat streams are organized by contact names only. This might not matter to some, but it's nice to have a reference of which chat you're chatting with, especially if you want to access chat history on a PC later.

So all in all, I'm leaning towards Fring in this battle. It's free, it can make calls, it can connect to Twitter and it never logs out. However, these features would be pretty easy for Mundu to integrate into their app and when they do, they could turn out to be the clear winner.

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