Instant messaging has made the leap to mobile phones. Internet mammoth AOL, Nokia and VoiceStream have released a version of the AOL Instant Messenger service AIM built into the Nokia 3390 mobile phone in the US. It can't be long before we get a go.

The partnership marks the first time instant messaging has been offered as a built-in application for a mobile handset, the companies said in a statement. The mobile phone is only available in gold — naturally — and users will pay for the service in the roughly the same way as GPRS (general packet radio service) systems are charged.

AOL announced back in February that it was working with mobile phone operators in an effort to move its AIM and ICQ chat and messaging services from the desktop to mobile phones by way of SMS (short message service) technology.

As more business users take advantage of SMS and instant messaging technologies as a cheap, fast way to communicate, AOL and Microsoft have been fiercely competing for the lion's share of the market, especially as instant messaging technologies move to wireless devices.

According to a study released in May by research firm Gartner, 52 percent of consumers and 40 percent of business users rely on AOL's instant messaging service, while 36 percent of consumers and 40 percent of business users have turned to the Microsoft version.