by CalebApril 29, 2010

Textie Improves SMS, Carriers Should Take Notice

Textie is a text messaging application for Apple mobile devices. By the makers of Tweetie (recently acquired by Twitter), Textie lets users across iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads message anyone for free, send photos, and receive push notifications.  Just as Skype for iPhone worried carriers, this should too.

For those under 30, it's hard to remember a time when the text message did not exist. The first SMS message was sent in 1993 by a Nokia engineering student, Riku Pihkonen. While telecom companies didn't see it as important, users discovered the power of quick, short messages. It was perfect for modern life and has since exploded; trillions of messages are sent in a year.

While traditional SMS is ubiquitous now, it's functionality is limited -- namely, it's siloed on the phone and it's 1:1. People have developed ways around this -- you can SMS from GChat and group message through TextPlus, for example. Textfree has also solved the expense problem. For some, Twitter replaces SMS because you can access it anywhere. Motoblur introduced a universal inbox to certain Motorola phones, enabling users to check all their messages (SMS, email, tweets...) in one place.

Textie is yet another way to have a better messaging experience. For one, it looks pretty -- clean, simple, well-designed. It combines SMS and email into one unified place. You can communicate with people who don't have the app. Oh, and it's free.

Carriers should be scared. And they should be thinking of ways to improve SMS, and not just overcharge for an archaic service. Otherwise we expect users will gradually move to these free and flexible alternatives.

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