Things are getting a bit sparse round here, so I’m going to get back to the reason I set this website up in the first place: blogging about iPhone things that I come across and find interesting or useful.
In that vein: Textie.
I’ve quite a few mates who are from or have moved to the USA. And I want to keep texting them. Some of them have BlackBerrys or iPhones, but not all. Plus there’s nothing like the immediacy of texts for me. But texting US friends is just a recipe for forking over cash to your operator; O2 charge me 24p per text. Ouch.
Textie is a joint effort from by the developers who created the equally awesome Tweetie (soon to be released as the official Twitter iPhone app) and location-sharing app Borange.
The big draw for me is being able to send real SMS to US mobiles for nothing. I’ve been looking for an iPhone-friendly way to do that for a while. I’ve been using it for a couple of days now, and it works very well. I send my mates a SMS via Textie (which goes to US carriers via an email-to-SMS gateway), and I get a reply using push notification.
The message and the rest of the conversation is available in the app; it saves drafts when you quit, just like the iPhone messages app.
It’s not just for US mobiles – you can also send messages (including pictures) to other Textie users and email addresses.
What’s not so good?
The app doesn’t do concatenated SMS – they’re sent and delivered as two or more texts, which feels a bit retro! It’s a consequence of using the email-to-SMS gateways.
Also, the app doesn’t recognise “00 1” as a US number, only “+1”, so you’ll have to change any errant numbers in your Contacts.
And my mates get a text from a sender identified as “Matt Radford via Textie”, not my UK mobile number. However, the upside is this means that they reply to effectively a US number – they don’t have to send a text internationally, thereby avoiding aforementioned heinous SMS charges.
You can send pictures – but only if it goes to other Textie users or their email addresses. So no MMS, but I’m not sure I see the point of that. I’d rather just send them an email.
If your US friends don’t register their mobile number, then you’ll probably get an email from them instead of a message within Textie – leading to disjointed conversation. I’d rather just have an email chain in that case.
Lastly, no sending SMS to anywhere else but the US.
It needs a data connection to work – any GPRS, 3G or Wifi will do.
No sending to Google Voice numbers either (at the moment).
It may be coming to the Mac as well, according to this support post.
Other apps give you similar functionality, such as WhatsApp. But the thing for me is the sending proper SMS. It’s not a replacement for the built-in Messaging app in anyway, but it does what I need.
It’s making the move to my first home screen very soon. The app is free with ads, or (and I thought this was quite cute) for £1.19 you can make an in-app purchase to buy a button to turn the ads off. The ads aren’t intrusive, but I bought that button pretty soon after purchase.
It’s a bit of a niche app, but it does exactly what I want. Recommended.
Version reviewed: 1.02
Category: Social Networking
Developer: Borange, Inc.
Current Price: Free, or £1.19 to remove ads
Platforms: iPhone (version reviewed), iPod Touch, iPad