Ruksun MSN Messenger Force 2.4

As the growth of the Internet continues to grow at nearly 10,000 new users a day, so to is the growing need for communication. The average corporation processes nearly 3 billion e-mail message a year with the numbers expect to continue to climb. Along with that climb is the growing use of instant communication. Many corporations and individuals keep in contact with co-workers, friends and family with applications such as Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ and AOL Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger.

In the Handheld PC market, many HPC devices include Yahoo! Messenger as a built-in instant communication tool. However, many people use the MSN Messenger application on their desktop PCs as it is now included with Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Until recently, if users wanted to use MSN Messenger on their HPCs, they were, quite simply, out of luck.

Ruksun Technology began developing their MSN Messenger Force nearly two years ago and the latest iteration of this application is a winner. Produced for Pocket PCs and Handheld PCs alike, Messenger Force gives users a simple and familiar interface, much like that of its desktop counterpart. While there are some limitations to the application, overall it is extremely user friendly and provides the communication needs of HPC owners who are away from their desktops.

Ruksun has made MSN Messenger Force available both in a desktop installation package (utilizing Active Sync) or can be downloaded as a .CAB file directly to a users HPC should they be connected to the internet. Ruksun is one of the few application producers that provide this convenience to connected HPC users and provide this choice of download on most of their applications.

Once MSN Messenger Force is installed, you will be prompted to enter your MSN Passport or Hotmail account information. Like its desktop counterpart, the Ruksun product allows users to create an account by going directly to the MSN Passport website. From here, users can create a Passport based on any email address or can create a MSN Hotmail account to link it with.

Ruksun's MSN Messenger Force Main Display

With the account created, logging onto the services is similar to the desktop version and the list of online and offline users are listed in a dialog box like that of MSN Messenger. To message a user, simply double-tap that person's name and a messaging box will be displayed. Like the desktop version, it is divided into a typing area at the bottom and a scrollable conversation history box at the top.

On the desktop version of MSN Messenger, users are able to put their contacts in categories such as fellow employees, friends or families or any other self-created category. Unfortunately this handy feature is not available on the Ruskun product as it only provides a listing of contacts that are online or offline. Ultimately, this is the only indicator that users need in order to use MSN MessengerForce. However, being able to put contacts in these categories makes it easier for users to determine which of their contacts are online or offline.

Additionally, users can access their email account (based on the Passport information the user is using to log in) with a tap of the Go - Email menu. Once accessed, the Pocket Outlook Inbox will open and email can be sent and received as normal. Further, like the desktop MSN Messenger, Ruksun's product also allows for users to tap an online friend and email them directly via the E-mail menu.

Using MSN MessengerForce is identical to the desktop versions of MSN Messenger. To send an instant message to a contact, double-tab the contact which will open up a message dialog box. Simply type your message to your contact as you would with and press Enter (or tap the Send button) to send the message to your contact.

Another major feature that is missing in MSN MessengerForce is the inability to send files via Messenger. With the desktop version of the application, a direct connection can be established between two users in a messaging session and allow files to be transferred from one user to another. The simplest way to think of this is a point-to-point FTP. The benefit of this features is that it allows user to send any type of file directly to that contact without having to deal with email - which can be limited in attachment size - or setting putting the file out on a corporate or private FTP site. The lack of the feature in Ruksun's product is sorely missing and one that I personally used on almost a daily basis.

Overall I've found the Ruksun product to be good although their customer support response time is less than desirable. I've waited up to 2 weeks before getting a response to inquires concerning MSN Messenger Force.

Ruksun's MSN Messenger Force can be downloaded at the Ruksun website. There is a free 30-day demonstration and the product can be purchased for $19.95. If you are a heavy MSN Messenger user, this product is worth the price.

System Requirements:

Windows CE 2.11 and above
SH3, StrongARM, MIPS

Rating  
Cost: 4 Star Rating: Recommended
Usability: 4 Star Rating: Recommended
Built-In helps: 3 Star Rating: Average
Customer Service: 1 Star Rating: Very Poor
Overall: 2.0 Star Rating: Weak

Ruksun MSN Messenger Force can be found at the following URL.
http://www.ruksun.com/

Clinton Fitch
Chief Reviews Editor