In a sign of the times, Utah Valley University has marked a stairwell in its student center with areas specifically designated for texters. Though the stair design is intended to be equal parts art and equal parts function, there’s no denying that we, as a society, may very well be headed down a path where ‘texting lanes’ are necessary.
In what’s sure to be a controversial proposal, several law enforcement groups are pushing Congress to pass a law requiring wireless carriers to store all their customers’ text messages so they can be accessed by police during investigations. CNET reports that the proposed law is similar to one pushed recently by “a constellation of law enforcement groups, including the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, the National District Attorneys’ Association, and the National Sheriffs’ Association” late last year. More →
It was only a few years ago that people started to call each other less and send text messages at an ever increasing rate. But according to Chetan Sharma Consulting, text messaging traffic and revenues decreased for the first time in the third 2012. The mobile market research firm says “the decline is primarily due to the rise in IP messaging and operators have been slow to evolve their strategies in the segment.” The report isn’t shocking considering how popular iMessage, WhatsApp and other messenger applications are. More →
American adults still prefer communicating by voice over sending and receiving text messages according to a recent survey conducted by The Pew Research Center. Pew surveyed 2,277 Americans ages 18 and older between April 26th and May 22nd of this year, and found that nearly three-quarters of them send and receive text messages. Despite the increased popularity of text messaging among adults in the U.S., however, only 31% prefer messaging to voice calls. More than half — 53% — said voice calling was their preferred means of communications rather than SMS, and 14% said their preference would depend on the situation. Pew also notes that young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 are by far the most active users of text messaging, with the average user in that age range exchanging more than 100 messages each day. More →
In an email correspondence with blog Phone Scoop earlier today, Sprint confirmed that it too would provide its customers with free calling and text messaging to Japanese phone lines. The news comes just hours after both AT&T and Verizon Wireless announced similar policies for both their wireless and wireline subscribers. Although the U.S.’s fourth largest carrier — T-Mobile — was the first to offer this courtesy when an earthquake struck Haiti back in January of 2010, the company has, up to this point, been silent. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have all committed to waiving fees assessed to users making a donation to the Japanese relief effort via text message. More →
A U.K. woman armed with a Samsung Galaxy S running the SWYPE keyboard has broken the Guinness World Record for text messaging. The 27-year old managed to swipe out the phrase: “the razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human,” in just under 26 seconds. The time bests the official record, held by a 24-year old American, by over nine seconds. As the Press Association reports, “Ms Thompson, who works for an insurance company, was shopping with her boyfriend, Chris Davies, 23, when they visited a Samsung roadshow and she was invited to have a go at breaking the record.” The woman’s feat has yet to be made official by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Did we nail it or what? Today Rogers announced the creation of chatr, the low-cost wireless brand we exclusively told you about last week. Created to serve what Rogers calls a “niche” market that is not currently served by its flagship and value brands Rogers Wireless and Fido, chatr will offer no contract voice and text plans as well as unlimited talk and text plans. Data is not a part of chatr’s game plan. According to Rogers, the big draw of chatr is not only its great plans, but that for the first time it gives urbanites who simply want to make calls and send texts affordable service from a “network they can trust.” We were pretty curious about the timing of this launch, what with WIND Mobile now being half a year old and Mobilicity having only been on the scene for six weeks, so we asked Rogers about it. Surprisingly, they were adamant that they could not care less what their competitors are doing or where it is they are operating. They were quick to point out that chatr has been one year in the making and that it actually designed to mimic business model that allowed MetroPCS to go from a small time carrier to the 5th largest in the United States. Sadly this was about as much extra information as we could squeeze out of Rogers. As much as they want to get chatr up and running today, they’ve still got a few more things to do behind the scenes before it launches by the end of summer. This means that they can’t get into specifics about when the network will launch. But as we have said before, thanks to our connects we know that Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa are a lock. Anyone planning to wait with baited breath?
T-Mobile assists Haitian relief effort by offering free calling to and from Haiti, donating wireless equpiment
While the world’s attention is glued to the small island nation of Haiti and the struggles of its inhabitants as they cope with the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake, it is nice to see at least one of our wireless carriers stepping up to the plate to offer much needed assistance. T-Mobile USA came forward and is offering its customers free international long distance calls to and from Haiti from January 12th, 2010 through January 31, 2010. T-Mobile is also pledging to donate much needed wireless equipment, including generators and wireless phones, to help restore Haiti’s communications infrastructure. Any wireless customer can contribute to the relief effort by texting the term “HAITI” to “90999” and a $10 donation will be given automatically to the Red Cross.The $10 will be applied to your wireless bill and T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and AT&T are waiving all text messaging charges for these donations. Donations of $5 can similarly be given to a relief fund set up by Haitian-born musician Wyclef Jean by texting “YELE” to 501501. Get those fingers flying folks and help out those in Haiti who are in great need. Full press release is after the break. More →
Remember when we announced the Peek Pronto and how funny it was that anyone would even consider a messaging-only device? Who would possibly want that in the company of BlackBerrys and iPhones? Well, Amazon has struck up a deal that some may find to be pretty hard to pass up: lifetime service with no monthly payments. If you have it in you to fork over $300 for the Peek Pronto, you can enjoy a lifetime of email (Exchange mail included) and all the text messages you can handle. Assuming your Peek doesn’t get lost, stolen or broken, you really are set for life — though we’re not exactly sure what happens if Peek, umm, ends up going away.
Google rarely sends new features out into the wild before they are ready for prime time, despite the fact that it stamps just about everything with “beta”, but SMS via chat was something that apparently had one too many hiccups out of the gate. Google first announced SMS integration back in October but ran into a few snags early on and had to pull the service rather quickly. SMS is back however, and Google claims it’s better than ever. The service can be activated from within the Labs tab – it’s the item is near the bottom of the Labs list labeled “Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat”. By enabling the feature and ensuring you have mobile numbers listed with your chat contacts, you’ll be able to send text messages to your chat contacts right from within the integrated chat box in the Gmail UI. The service is completely free for Gmail users but there may be costs involved for your recipients so don’t go bombarding them with SMS unless you know they have unlimited plans.
According to DSL Reports, Verizon Wireless has been quietly ending their SMS delivery confirmations. You know those quick icon changes (letter D or a green checkmark) that occur when your text message has been delivered to your recipient; well, they’re suddenly not working anymore. Discontinuation of the service reportedly started on September 9th on a regional basis and all regions should see the service gone by the end September. According to the word on the forums, the service was stopped in order to reduce network traffic. For every text message sent, Verizon had to send out the text message data to the recipient and then send back the data with the status information to the sender. We suppose don’t believe that 1KB of data being sent back per text message could bog down “The Network”. Rather, we wonder if they are phasing it out so they can offer it as a value add-on to your text messaging plan. You will now be able receive “dynamic” text message delivery status notification for just $1.99/month. Pure speculation here so don’t be spreading rumors that BGR said this or that about some new charges for SMS delivery confirmation. We’re just saying that with the way Verizon Wireless nickle and dimes their customers to death, it would not be outside the realm of speculative possibility.
Disclaimer: I have Verizon Wireless.
Looks like the four major US cell phone providers have been caught with their proverbial hands in the consumers pocket. Recently, Sen. Herb Kohl, chair of the antitrust subcommittee, sent a letter to the four major US Carriers (AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile) asking them to explain why text messaging rates have doubled over the past 3 years when the cost to send them has remained the same. Seems like the Senator also noticed that when one carrier raises costs, they all follow suit. Aren’t these carriers supposed to be competing against each other to lower rates and not working together to raise them? So far none of the carriers have not responded. Not surprising.