Aside from the fact that it's free, eBuddy's accessibility is undoubtedly one of the reasons for its continued popularity. Nearly every device that can connect to the Internet can use some version of eBuddy. The only requirement for computers and some mobile devices is Java capability, and any mobile device that supports xHTML or Wireless Application Protocol (which is virtually all of them) can use either Mobile Messenger or Lite Messenger [source: eBuddy]. Part of the reason it remains such a popular option for chat junkies across the globe is because it's available in 37 different languages, encompassing everything from Standard English to Brazilian Portuguese, with more languages to be added later [source: eBuddy].
No one who uses instant messaging should have any difficulty using eBuddy. Standard features on most chat programs, such as adding and grouping contacts, changing the color and style of your font and quick access to emoticons are all available and easy to use. If you're on a computer and have a webcam handy, you can even video chat.
eBuddy is also useful to those of us who like breaking the rules. If you feel like spending some company time chatting with friends instead of working, you're covered. The program evades most firewalls simply because there's nothing to download. As long as your IT administrator hasn't blocked the eBuddy Web site (and your boss doesn't catch you), you shouldn't run into any problems.
There are, however, some definite downsides to using eBuddy. You can't do anything on the service without having to sit through an advertisement first. In addition, if you spend a lot of time using eBuddy on a cell phone, the free service can quickly turn into an expensive pastime, as your mobile carrier will charge you for your Internet usage. It's not eBuddy's fault, but it is something to consider if you plan to do a lot of instant messaging on the go. Any updates you make in eBuddy won't transfer back to your original contact list. If you use eBuddy to change the address of one your MySpace contacts, for example, you'll still have to go back and re-enter the new information on MySpace.
Despite its drawbacks, eBuddy remains a popular application used by millions of people across the globe every day. Its cost, simple interface and accessibility have allowed the Dutch company to become the most successful independent Web and mobile instant messaging provider in the world [source: Reuters].
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