Trillian Astra beta multi-protocol IM client

For years, I used Trillian Pro (TPro) exclusively to chat with all of my ICQ, AIM, MSN, and gTalk friends. I liked it cuz I could not only handle all of IM needs in once place, but it saved conversations, which is nice when you need to refer back to something. It would also monitor my gmail and yahoo webmail accounts.  However, TPro would often grab up a boatload of RAM and I migrated over to the web-based Meebo.com client several months ago.

The folks at Cerulean Studios have been working on the next generation of Trillian called Astra for years. So long, in fact, I thought it would never come out and I had given up. Well, it finally is in beta and I installed it today. I’m thrilled to report that so far it works as well as TPro and is occupying a paltry 14k of RAM.

I won’t even attempt to cover all of it’s features and benefits, go over here for that. Some neat new Astra features that TPro didn’t have include support for Facebook including chat, and Twitter.

It feels like more of a TPro version 4 than an entirely new app. It has a spiffier look, but functionally it’s very similar to TPro. It still has the same confusing options and preferences that always seemed to be scattered all over the UI. Fortunately, you don’t have to mess with settings too much, but on the plus side it is very configurable.

Fixing the memory issue alone is enough for me to return to Trillian and I’m happy to be back. Web clients are nice, but there’s nothing like a good desktop app. It installed right over my TPro and retained all of the existing accounts and settings. I believe after 30 days I’m going to have to pony up $10 to upgrade. It’s $25 for new users. Worth it IMHO.