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An Amazing New Service I Discovered Called 160by2

By on Dec 2, 2007 in Reviews, Tech Takes | 0 comments

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Remember Cellity?
Some of you might have read my earlier post on a mobile app called Cellity freeSMS, which allows people to send free SMSes via their GPRS connection using a mobile Java app. The service is pretty good, never had a problem, never missed out on a ping call.

I do find a few sore spots about it though, after quite some time of using it. The problem is, that it supports no contacts book, which means you’ve to key in a recipient’s number each time you wanna send an SMS; or (what I do) keep one SMS from each of your contacts in your inbox (easily achieved, almost everyone sends one “I’m on Cellity now” message at least) – and then you can use THAT to message them any time you want. Plus points still remain, it’s DAMN cheap, and allows you to compose SMSes up to 2048 characters in length.

However, Cellity doesn’t support sending SMSes via its website. Coupled with that, the fact that a Java app needs to be installed – now believe it or not, in a place like India that cuts out a LARGE chunk of cellphones; and even if it doesn’t then at least it does create the headache of firing up an app each time you wanna send / receive messages. Also, if a person doesn’t have Cellity, then they just get a message showing 2-3 words, and a download like for the app – which means that to have effective communication, BOTH parties should have Cellity installed.
My (revised) rating of Cellity freeSMS: 7.6 / 10

160 divided by 2 is…

Enter a website called 160by2.com (weird name, I know, but I’ll explain that in a moment). Basically, 160by2 (started by SMSCountry) is a service which allows you to send SMSes via its website, and it works this way: In one SMS, you get to type in 80 characters, and they attached an 80 character long advertisement line below it. That’s about it! That brings us to the name – and I admit I was pretty foxed when I first landed up there…

Why the HECK is something name 160by2?!!!

Did figure it out; it’s because you get to send an 80 (160 / 2) character long message. Innovative name, I must say. :)

It DOES support quite a few features now. You can store your contacts, and even create groups. One message can be sent to ten people at a time, and after it has been sent, you can even view the particular advertisement that was attached to your message. You even have the option of *sharing* the SMS on the 160by2 site after you send an SMS – which is something you might wanna do if you happen to have a particularly bad PJ (I’m sure Ishaan Chugh will love this feature). Apart from that, you can also create groups, and SMS a whole lotta people at one go.

There IS a catch though. Given that it’s a free web-based service, there’s a restriction on the number of messages you can send: 50 messages per day, out of which to ONE particular contact you can send only 10 messages a day. Personally though, I’m glad that this restriction is there, otherwise there’s a chance of baddies misusing this to send out SMS spam; especially because unlike Cellity, 160by2 allows you to send messages to non-members too. Frankly, I wouldn’t have liked it if this safeguard wasn’t there. I might add here that if you receive a 160by2 message, and you think you DON’T want these to be delivered to you, you can even log in to their site and opt you number out of receiving such messages; which I feel is a very thoughtful addition.

Now how does this help when you’re on the move. The good thing is, 160by2 even has a WAP version of the site for mobile browsers – just enter 160by2.com on your cell browser and it’ll detect your platform and deliver the right page itself – through which you can send messages and add contacts. I was delighted to find that apart from my cellphone’s inbuilt browser, it also sent Opera Mini to the mobile version, like it should; and that shows great thoughtfulness on part of its creators in taking pains to detect mobile agents.

There IS a major flaw in the system though: for example, I signed in via my cell’s GPRS browser, and checked the ‘Remember Me’ option while logging in. Then, I exited my cell browser, logged in via my PC, and changed the password. Next time when I logged in via my cell, it DIDN’T ask me for a password, which it SHOULD as I had changed my password. It’s a small hitch though, and of no practical consequence if you don’t let you cell fall into somebody else’s hands, or don’t use the ‘remember’ option. The website doesn’t have this particular problem. Coming to the site / WAP site, I must say they’re pretty well-designed and structured – simple, clean, fast-loading interface.

160by2.com interfaceThe 160by2 interface – nice and clutter-free

Now for the con(s). By far the BIGGEST would cost you only a few drawback of the service is…that you can’t reply to an SMS received via it directly (I think…). Since the originating number is 160by2, when you receive an SMS from them, you’ll have to compose and send a new SMS via your cell, or fire up your GPRS browser. A small price, if I may say, for a great cheap service; because as I’d said earlier, SMSing in Delhi (compared to other metros like Chennai, where it’s damn cheap) costs a bomb – and sending data over GPRSpaise. Overall though, 160by2 happens to be a really great service.

Oh yeah, BTW, it’s invite-only, as of now. I’d have loved to have people begging me for an invite, but I seriously don’t want my inbox clogged up with ‘hI i WaN iNvIte’ messages. So here’s an unlisted page on the 160by2 website through which you can sign up. Do leave a thanks in a comment if you get in this way. :P
My rating of 160by2.com: 9.2 / 10

Way2ooShitty

I think it’s prudent to discuss a few more services here. To do a background on this, I looked up info about similar services, and there does exist one called Way2SMS. Frankly, I didn’t even bother to sign up – VERY cluttered interface, and FAQ page is inundated with typos and grammatical errors. Thank you, but no thank you, I don’t trust such a website; so what if it allows 92 character long messages (followed by an ad)?

This Is A Yahoo! Fan’s Blog…
Another service worth noticing is that of Yahoo!, via it’s All-New Yahoo! Mail interface, or via the Yahoo! Messenger. You can send longer messages (144 characters) for free, and it even does a ‘background check’ when you enter the number to see whether they have a tie-up with that particular operator. As for limits, there are none, except that for every FOUR messages you send via Yahoo!, you need to get ONE reply from the person you’re sending to. That’s one point to be noted – Yahoo! DOES allow your receiver to send replies; however, since a *premium* number they’re messaging (58243 in Ind
ia), they pay through their nose for that (Rs 3 in Airtel Delhi). No group messaging, again, to stop spamming (come on, otherwise, anyone can make a throwaway Yahoo! ID and start spamming people!); but you CAN message people whose phone numbers you have stored in your Yahoo! Address Book. In all, a good, free, and most importantly, RELIABLE service for that occasional SMS update you might want to send to someone.
My rating of Yahoo! Send to SMS feature: 7.4 / 10

That about wraps it up. Happy money saving…and if you do have feedback on these services, or any other / new ones that you know, do leave a comment here…



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