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This is very much possible with Flex and AIR, and is pretty straight forward too. You might have to use BlazeDS/LCDS on the server side. BlazeDS/LCDS allow you to do Remoting and Messaging. Using Messaging you can implement the chat feature. Using Remoting it will be easier for you to invoke the methods in Java pretty easily. You can also have a look at the Data Management feature provided in LCDS. Using Data Management things like pushing data to the clients, etc are handled for you.
You can use RTMP, in which the client is always connected to the server. You can also use AMF Polling/HTTP Polling, in which the client will keep polling the sever at regular intervals for updates. AMF Polling and HTTP Polling are available as channels in BlazeDS/LCDS, you just have ask Flex to use any of the channel and the rest is taken care for you.
Please check out more details at the URLs below.
Hope this helps.