We knew from a few months ago that SHAPE Services, the developers of the popular instant messaging utility IM+, were committed to a Windows Phone 7 client. Since that time, we have not heard much more about it, but at least according to one report, it's far from dead.

Forum member and former iPhone blogger Nabil was able to speak to one of his contacts at SHAPE Services and reported the following:

I just got word from my person at Shape Services. They are testing IM+ for Windows Phone 7 internally, so it's not vaporware, and are planning to drop it on us in "January-February." Horray!

While not an official statement from SHAPE Service, it looks like it will have to do until we hear more. Nabil also speculates about some of the (well known) issues that IM developers may face when building for WP7:

Currently, WP7 doesn't support independent sockets. What that means is that you can't just connect to ports and services. WP7 supports HTTP and HTTPS connections right now. Until we get socket support, we can't connect to the actual IM servers. We need to connect to a proxy server first.

The rest of the story is that Microsoft is, according to reports from various blogs, releasing the API during the first round of updates, so possibly in January, but more likely in February.

He also notes the same issue applies for Skype and Pandora (although Slacker Radio and IheartRadio seem to be doing just fine). Regardless of the reason, we're fairly confident that early 2011 will bring lots of radical improvements through those "several updates" in the next couple of months.

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