Text Free Apps - How to Receive and Send Text Messages for Free
Have you been shocked by the cost of texting charges on your mobile phone bill and want a free or low cost alternative. The good news is there are fabulous alternatives that work extremely well such as TextNow of Skye IM. Even though texting cost the carriers virtually nothing, because the text message is sent and received in a fraction of a second, unlike voice messages the carriers 'charge like a raging bull' for them. In many case you could be slugged 20 cents or more to send and receive each message.
In the last couple of years several 'free texting' applications have been developed that work extremely well - all making use of cellphones’ data streams. One of the latest developments is Apple’s iMessage, that allow users to text free. Why use an expensive 'text' channels when data channels are much cheaper. Traditionally texts are sent over a special protocol, essentially a dedicated channel, that is quite distinct from the data and voice channels used by phone carriers.
One individual text message sent as data, via one of the texting applications, requires only about 170 bytes of data. Most cellphone data plans allow 2 to 10 gigabytes (equivalent to 30,000 - 150,000 million messages - more than enough for most people!).
TextFree has been around since 2009 and is perhaps the most popular free texting apps, especially or teenagers who get 'hassled' by their parents for exceeding the limits of their parents’ plans. TextFree can also be used to text from PCs, laptops, iPods, iTouch and iPads and other devces. Pinger, the host company for TextFree has data showing that the median age of TextFree users is 14. There are annoying ads that flash up when you are entering a message, but the messages themselves are ad free, and the service itself is free. Its competitors are TextNow and textPlus. You can remove the ads from these apps for a small fee (around $ 2-6 per year depending on the application and the deals they offer).
When you register for apps such as TextFree, you get a new phone number for your texting, and messages are forwarded directly to your cellphone or other wireless device. TextPlus and TextFree work on Android devices and Apple iOS (that is Apple devices as iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch). TextNow is only compatible with iOS devices. The good news is that you can send your text messages completley free to just about anyone, including many people who don't have smartphones.
Many people complain about having to use another number, but this number is diplayed as the source number when you send a text, and people quickly make the conversion. If youI can save $25 a month or more on texting fees, it is obviously worth the small inconvenience at the start.
All of these apps (TextNow, TextFree and also textPlus) let you transmit picture files within texts. and most have cool options like special ring tones and a full range of emoticons and cartoony symbols that you can add to your messages.
Recent comparative tests have suggested that the old reliable - 'TextFree' was the fastest, and generally most reliable and is probably the easiest to use of the various apps available. It also allows uses to text messages free to more than 24 foreign countries, while many of its rivals are limited to US and Canada. As a bonus, TextFree allows users to text from their computers - a real bonus to everyone who prefers a full-size keyboard.
Other options, which don't require a new phone number, use instant messaging apps between people who have the same software installed and communicate via a username. These services allow users to text to groups including as many as 100 people, and picture files can be included. Some of these modern instant messaging apps include iMessage, Google Talk, Skype IM, Kik, GroupMe and Facebook Messenger. These work as long as the sender and the receiver have the same app (similar to Skype voice). You will be slugged regular texting charges if you use these apps to send messages to friends if users which don't have the software installed. The applications Google Talk, Kik and Skype Chat can only be used to text between users of the apps.
Google Voice (quite distinct from Google Talk), is a free, feature-laden, flexible communication app that you can use for virtually unlimited texting to anyone in the United States to both mobile phones, and e-mail inboxes. You can also access texts via the Google Voice Web site, which allows users to texting from their own computer. But you cannot attach pictures.
© 2011 Dr. John Anderson
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