When Netbot was launched back in October of last year, we praised it as a fine client for the fledgling App.net service. Based on the same user interface as the popular Tweetbot client by Tapbots, it's no surprise that we liked the Netbot client. Since then both the service and the app have evolved, most recently with the addition of a File API and 10GB of cloud storage. While no major apps yet seem to have taken advantage of the File API, the previous addition to App.net - a Messaging API - is seeing growing adoption.
To boot, version 1.3 of Netbot recently hit the iOS App Store with support for the Messaging API, adding a button to the bottom toolbar to get you into your App.net messages (in the process pushing the dedicated profile button to the user-selectable fourth place slot). For those familiar with Tweetbot, Netbot's implementation of the Messaging API should be quite familiar. In fact, it's practically identical, save for the 256-character limit that App.net allows. Since Netbot gained push notifications in late October with version 1.1, if so enabled (instructions here) you'll get them for your App.net messages too.
Messaging support isn't the only thing that's happening with Netbot - it's also now free in the App Store, though for "an unspecified period of time", according to developer Paul Haddad of Tapbots. Netbot debuted at $4.99 for both the iPhone and iPad versions. Tapbots lowered the price to literally nothing with the hope of spurring more users to look at App.net. As Haddad said from his own App.net account, the move does appear to have driven a bump of new users to the service. If that will be sustained is another question, though App.net does seem to be on a slow-but-steady rise. It doesn't hurt Tapbots too much, as Haddad pointed out, they're making more from App.net's Developer Incentive Program than they are from App Store sales of Netbot.
So if you've been waiting for a reason to try out App.net's pay service, the barrier to entry just dropped by five bucks.