Updated Yahoo! Messenger for iPhone “Pushes” AIM Aside

Yahoo! Messenger IconYahoo (s yhoo) announced today an eagerly awaited update to Yahoo! Messenger for the iPhone that brings about support for push notifications, joining rival AIM. With the latest updates, Yahoo is continuing to push the bar (pun intended) and give AIM a run for its money (pun not intended).

If you are new to chatting, the three major players in the market are AIM (s twx), Yahoo and Microsoft (s msft) (what market are they not part of?). While AIM remains at the top of the mountain (offering great integration for MobileMe customers), rival Yahoo is making it harder for users to stay attached to AIM’s service. For those who aren’t completely satisfied with what AIM has to offer, Yahoo! Messenger is a great alternative or supplement and is a bit more robust, with support for adding users of Microsoft’s MSN Messenger service.

Yahoo has been vocal about its dedication to the iPhone platform, and its support is appreciated and apparent. Unlike AIM, Yahoo! Messenger for the iPhone (s aapl) also supports sending/receiving photos via your built-in camera. It also exists as a free application, and isn’t cluttered with ads like AIM’s free counterpart. Several unique features of Yahoo! Messenger are also supported, including its popular “Buzz!” feature. In true iPhone style, you activate it by simply shaking your phone.

If you are someone who enjoys chatting with users who do not use either service, Yahoo! Messenger also features the ability to send messages to mobile users over SMS, saving iPhone users from SMS charges (similar to AIM).

Having used both AIM and Yahoo! Messenger on my iPhone, I’m a bit biased towards Yahoo’s offering. With better support for seamlessly moving between mobile and desktop use (actually forcing me to sign off my desktop), this keeps me from “losing” messages in one location, unlike AIM. During testing, I kept inadvertently leaving AIM “signed on” on my iPhone and messages were being routed there, instead of showing up in iChat, on which I was logged in as well.

Yahoo! Messenger for iPhone is a free download on the App Store. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Yahoo! Messenger On iPhone