After being in development for almost three years, Cerulean Studios has started to slowly roll out the latest version of the all-new Trillian Astra. Currently available as an invite-only download, Trillian Astra is the logic evolution of good old Trillian, a popular multi-platform IM client released by the end of 2000. Trillian was not the first IM app to offer multi-network connectivity, but it stood out of the crowd thanks to an intuitive interface design that helped users manage their contacts from different networks in a much easier way.
Trillian Astra keeps that same spirit of making things easy for the user. Right after installing it, you’re taken through an intuitive yet painfully lengthy step-by-step configuration process. You’ll be able to choose interface style, nickname, avatar and of course, select the networks you want to manage through Trillian. The program now supports Live Messenger, AOL Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, Facebook, MySpaceIM, Skype, Jabber, IRC, Twitter, e-mail accounts (POP3 and IMAP) and Bonjour, besides the Astra proprietary network.
Trillian Astra boasts a nice interface design, though it can get quite bloated with contacts lists from a dozen different IM platforms. Fortunately you decide which networks to load on program startup, and temporarily hide certain lists as well. In a way, I see the new Trillian Astra not as a multi-platform instant messaging tool anymore, but more like a social timeline where you can chat with your friends – either by text, voice or video – and also see what they’re up to on Facebook or Twitter.
With so many supported networks, you can imagine Trillian Astra has a massive preferences menu. Some of the most interesting options include the possibility to create custom away messages, manage the contact list behavior, configure notifications and control file transfers, among others.
Like I said, Trillian Astra is now at a beta testing phase, but if you are too curious to wait until the final official release, fill in this form to subscribe as beta tester and you’ll probably get an invite soon. Mine took hardly a couple of minutes to arrive.