Early in the 21st century text messaging became the latest, greatest thing in the communications industry. It exploded firmly onto the scene in 2001 when the number of SMS messages went from 17 billion to 250 billion globally in the space of 12 months. By 2012 this number had climbed to nearly 10 trillion. That’s 10,000,000,000,000. Or ‘a lot’. (source: mobithinking.com)
But despite these huge numbers, the humble SMS seems positively clunky in an age of tweets, Facebook messages and even BBM. (Well, maybe not the latter.) While other methods of mobile communications have developed and progressed, the SMS hasn’t really changed in the last decade. And it’s only a matter of time before its appeal, no matter how enduring, starts to wane. Or is it?
Over the last few weeks I’ve been trialing several mobile apps that could either perpetuate or, alternatively, kill SMS. The future for text messaging is unclear, but the three apps below could have a big say in what that future is.
1 Mighty Text
The single biggest pain in the bottom about SMS is typing on a mobile. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a touch screen on a 4.8” Samsung Galaxy SIII or the keyboard on a Blackberry Curve (does anyone still use a Blackberry?), tapping out a message can be a little annoying at times. For a long time I’ve wanted a decent way of using SMS from my computer screen. Enter Mighty Text.
Mighty Text works as ‘hidden’ app on a mobile that syncs with a website (and optional Chrome extension) on a computer. When your phone receives an SMS, you can read and answer it via your computer keyboard. It’s a very simple concept, but it completely changes the dynamic of text messaging. It syncs your contacts, stores threaded discussions, displays MMS files, enables you to attach files, mark favourites, either respond to or start a new conversation and even monitor your battery level. All in all, pretty darn awesome.
Great if…you’re sat at a PC, particularly at work. Leave your phone in your pocket or bag, or on the desk, and text your mates without even touching it.
Not so great if… you’re an iPhone devotee. Mighty Text is an Android app, so if you’re in Steve Jobs’ pocket, you’re going to miss out I’m afraid.
Have you ever thought how good it would be if you could send voice messages, rather than written text messages? How much quicker and easier it would be to speak your message, press one button and send? Voxer enables you do just that. Like Mighty Text, it’s a simple idea but, unlike Mighty Text, the iPhone crew will be happy as this works on both Android and iOS.
Voxer is billed as a ‘walkie talkie’ app, which sort of describes it, but sort of not. It’s more like sending short, instant voice mails than an ongoing conversation which, let’s face it, is called a phone call. Dead easy to use, you select a contact who’s on Voxer, hold a button down and talk, then let go and off goes your message. Receiving a Vox is just like receiving an SMS, except you listen to it. This is one you have to try to really ‘get’. But I asked a few friends to sign up and it’s become a primary form of contact ahead of SMS. It’s effective and it’s fun. Could it kill SMS in time? That may be overstating the matter, but once you’ve tried Voxer, you won’t go back.
Great if…you can’t be bothered to type out a text or want to say something a bit longer. Or if you’re in the car.
Not so great if…you’re in a public place. SMS is very private, whereas a Vox isn’t unless you’ve got headphones.
You may have heard of something called Siri? You may have heard how Siri is pretty useless? Imagine if Siri was good. Imagine if it worked. It’s called Maluuba. Maluuba is Siri times ten; voice-controlled mobile at its best. And for SMS, it provides an alternative input mechanism that takes the pain out of typing text messages.
If you’re on Android, that is. This is another one that, if you’re on iOS, I’m afroid you’re stack woth Siru. (Sorry, a little Siri humour there.) As a ‘personal assistant’ app, it does far, far more than write text messages for you too, so definitely worth a try. For sheer genius humour, whether you’re on Android or Apple, take a look at the video above.
Great if…you want a voice-control system that actually works.
Not so great if…you’re in loud places as this interferes with the voice recognition. Or you have an iPhone…
What else am I missing? Have you tried or do you use something that could kill or cure SMS?
Like this post? Subscribe to FutureComms and get it straight to your inbox.
Posted by Paul Sutton