Apr 27, 2011
Texting plans don’t come cheap. The phone carriers know that people are so addicted to them, that they can charge fees far greater than the actual data transfer is worth and people will keep paying them. However, there do exist solutions for free texting. iOS users have had the option to use Textfree for a while to send texts to people, whether they’re looking to replace their phone’s text plan, or use their iPod touch to send texts, just like a real phone! Now, Android users can download Textfree for their phones, and send texts for free using their service. However, with Google Voice already supported by Android, is Textfree worth using?
Both Google Voice and Textfree offer similar features for text message users – both services give you a real number for free that people can send texts to, and you will get a notification on your device of choice of the text. Texts and their notifications come in with relatively no latency, based on testing. Textfree can’t work as a phone number replacement like how Google Voice can, only as a separate texting number. As well, the Android version of Textfree can’t place and receive voice calls like the iOS version, although this is a paid service – this may come at some point in the future, especially with official in-app purchases now implemented. Textfree’s Android app has an advantage over the iOS app, as your phone’s SMS messages can be implemented into the app, so you can use Textfree to check both your Textfree texts and official messages, and send messages via either Textfree or your text plan via the Textfree app. This is not possible on iOS due to Apple restrictions.
For multiplatform users, Google Voice will send notifications to whatever device you are logged in to, so if you have an iPod touch and Android, you can get notifications on both if you want. However, Textfree only allows you to log in on one device, so you will only get notifications on that one device that you are logged in to. This might seem like good user behavior, but what if you switch between devices and expect a text on one device, but they’re coming in to another? As well, if you use your iOS device for voice calls with your Textfree number, you will only get a notification of a missed call, rather than being able to answer the call.
Textfree for Android is a solid solution for those looking to send free texts from their Android device, or if they have a Textfree account that they want to use on their Android device now. Overall, as a service, it has some advancing to do on Android before it can compete with Google Voice as a phone replacement, however. Textfree is now available from the Android Market for free.