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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.

If you're using an iPhone, Apple does not allow mysms to access your text messages, so you're restricted to texting other mysms users. If no one you know is using the application, you're out of luck. But if you can recruit a few friends to use the service, you'll be able to exchange messages for free--and they don't have to use the same type of phone as you.

If you're using an Android phone, mysms can do a lot more. You'll see your recent text messages in a column on the left side of the screen, organized by the phone number or contact name. Clicking on one of these brings up your message history with that person, displayed in a larger column to the right. You can compose a message at the top of the screen, and can choose to send it via mysms (which requires the recipient to use the app) or your mobile carrier. Additionally, mysms lets you use a service called mysms out, where you can purchase credits for sending texts to users who don't use mysms.

The look of mysms is appealing and the program has benefits for both Android and iPhone users, especially when you consider that you can choose between the downloadable desktop app and the Web app. I also like how mysms syncs any messages you send on your PC with the mobile app. But iPhone users without any mysms-using friends will find it hamstrung by Apple's limitations.

MightyText

Free texting service MightyText actually manages to live up to its name. Like most of the services tested for this story, it works with Android devices only, and requires that you install a mobile app on your phone.

The hardest part of using MightyText is the initial setup. Once the mobile app is installed and you're ready to use MightyText on your computer or tablet, you have to do a bit of tinkering with your browser's settings if you'd like to receive notifications of new messages. But MightyText guides you through the process-- which involves changing some security settings in Internet Explorer or installing a third-party add-on in Firefox--and it's a one-time thing.

MightyText's Web app is slick, and it lets you choose between a "classic view" and a "power view." The classic view uses a layout similar to Microsoft Outlook, where you see information about the sender in the first column and then message details in the next column. The power view, meanwhile, displays phone-sized fields on your computer screen that display recent text messages in conversation form. The power view lets you see more messages at once (it fit eight on my screen), while the classic view gives you more space for viewing message details. Switching between them is easy.

 

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