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PDAs and cellphones to explode market for instant messaging

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While AOL and Microsoft slog it out in their instant messaging (IM) war, one research company is predicting that IM is set to become the killer app for wireless communications in the next five years. California-based Mobile Insights (MI) reckons the worldwide market for IM (aka buddy lists) will grow to 175 million users by 2002. It's already employed by 50 million PC-based users but it's the growth in mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) that is expected to see the most significant changes. "Integrated wireless communications will be the catalyst that leads to the pervasive use of mobile information appliances," said David Hayden, senior industry analyst for Mobile Insights. "Instant messaging on these wireless handheld PCs and mobile phones will become as commonplace as voice mail in only a few years." It is claimed that five years from now the interface to most cell phones and wireless PDAs will include a buddy list. ®

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