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Unhand that phone! Texting tools for the big screen

Liane Cassavoy | April 26, 2013
Don't cramp your style texting on that teeny-tiny smartphone. There's no need, especially when you consider how many apps and services make it easy for you to text from the roomy comfort of your computer's monitor and keyboard.

Then you're good to go. BrowserTexting automatically displays a list of your contacts. You can select one from the list or enter a number on the screen to begin texting. Once you start the message, BrowserTexting brings up past conversations with that person right on the screen, so you can view your texting history as a conversation, just as you would on your phone. You can send MMS messages and group texts, too. New messages pop up on your computer screen, and all of your correspondence is synced back to your phone.

The interface is bland, featuring little more than a big blank space for messages, but easy enough to understand. I like that BrowserTexting offers extensions for Firefox and Google Chrome, which allow you to read and compose messages without opening a dedicated browser window or tab. And I like that it opens new text message conversations in tabs, making it easy to switch between them.

I did notice a slight delay when clicking around the interface, whether I was entering a contact name or number or trying to compose a message. That's a minor annoyance, though. More troublesome is BrowserTexting's price: at $10 (after a 30-day free trial), this application is expensive. When most of the competitors are free, an application that costs $10 has to offer far more features. And this one doesn't. BrowserTexting is just as good as some of its rivals, but it costs far more.

DeskSMS

Like BrowserTexting and MobiTexter, DeskSMS ($5/year) is strictly for owners of Android devices. And like those services, DeskSMS requires the installation of an app on your Android phone before you can use it on your computer.

To use DeskSMS, you must grant the Android app permission to access your Google account. You then open a browser window on your computer and head to desksms.appspot.com. (Like BrowserTexting, DeskSMS is available as Web app that works in most browsers, and as an extension for Firefox and Chrome.) Here, you log in and grant the Web app the same permission to access your Google account. You can choose to sync your Google contacts, too.

Then, you're ready to begin texting--although that's not immediately apparent, due to DeskSMS's barren Web interface. You simply get a blank screen, with the DeskSMS logo, a login button, and a field for entering a name or number at the top. I kept trying to logi n, thinking that this button was displayed because my login hadn't worked. After several attempts, I decided to try entering a number in the available field instead, and was pleasantly surprised to see my contacts appear as soon as I began typing.

 

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