Every time I have got a new phone, or flashed a Rom one of the first apps I put on is HeyWire by MediaFriends Inc. Simply it is an app that allows you to send texts, Tweets and Facebook Chat using only a data connection and at no charge.
The way it works is simple. Once you install it gives you a US mobile phone number that you then give out to whom ever you wish. They text the number and it arrives inside the app. You can reply, send picture messages all for free, as long as you have an active data connection mobile data or wi-fi.
This is what the Market entry says:
HEYWIRE SOCIAL MESSAGING HUB!
Free Texting (Real SMS), Twitter & Facebook Chat
Free Texting (Real SMS) & Picture Messaging in the USA and to 45 Countries from a real U.S. phone number, Worldwide Smartphone Messenger, Twitter, Facebook Chat + More…
Text, Tweet & Chat like Crazy – One Simple App!
HEYWIRE SOCIAL MESSAGING HUB!
FREE TEXTING (REAL SMS) & PICTURE MESSAGING
★ Send Text and Pics to all mobile phones in USA, Canada & Mainland China
and most any mobile phone in Mexico, South/Central America & Caribbean
★ Real U.S. Phone Number included
★ Use it to reach friends with ANY SMS-capable phones
★ Friends don’t need the HeyWire App to reply
★ Perfect travel companion to avoid costly texting
★ Voice-to-Text Message Creation if your Android device supports it
★ Fastest & most reliable Picture & Text Messaging
Some of the other features include Group Messaging and SmartSMS Auto Response. Plus it is cross platform supporting Android and iPhone/iPad.
It also claims to support a vast amount of countries:
Send real text and picture messages to friends on any phone in these countries:
United States, Canada, Mainland China, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, St. Lucia, Sint Maarten, Northern Mariana Islands, Monserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, Grenada, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, United States Virgin Islands (USVI), British Virgin Islands (BVI), Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Barbados, The Bahamas, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Uruguay, Suriname, Paraguay, Ecuador, Guyana, Bolivia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Venezuela, Colombia
So the big question is does it work as it is supposed to? The short answer is most of the time. I live in the UK, which if you look again at the above list you will notice that it is not listed and my girlfriend lives in the United States. When I first started using this it should be noted that she did not have a ‘smartphone’. All she was using was a regular ‘feature phone’. Going through the initial set-up was not totally smooth and did take a while for my activation text to come back to me. However once it arrived I started texting and all was well. She received my texts usually instantly, but sometimes it took 5 or 10 mins till it arrived. The same timing issues would crop up when she replied to me, however since she was texting a US mobile number it was if she was sending a txt to a co-worker or whoever that lived there. No extra charges were added onto either of our bills. For the first 2 months I kept checking my bill everyday expecting some charge but there never was one. It has been exactly what it promised – Free texting. You have a choice of 4 different themes to use or you can pay extra to ‘unlock’ more. The same goes for notification sound. There is a number of sounds that you can choose or you can ‘unlock’ more by buying them.
Another interesting perk once you create your HeyWire account is if you sync it to their servers you can install it on an other device and log in with your HeyWire number and password and txt away using the same number. I have it installed on 4 different phones over the last year all using the same HeyWire phone number. Plus when I finally took the step of rooting my Desire HD and flashed a custom Rom on it knew I had previously had HeyWire installed and gave me the option to just sign in with my password. In fact I have flashed many Roms and every time all I have to do is input my password once I install and I am good to carry on using it.
So what is the catch? Is there any? I mean free txting around the world it cannot be that smooth.
The thing is it is not that smooth. As I mentioned above sometimes messages can take 10 minutes to arrive. And sometimes it can take a few hours. Their servers have gone down in the past resulting in no service for a day. When that happens you never know about it. However for me I can live with that. The loss of service has only happened 2 or 3 times over the last year and it a small price to pay. The delay to send and receive messages happens more than I would like but again I really feel like I cannot complain that much about it. I am being provided with their service which works as they say it will 95% of the time. When international texting costs so much normally the ability to have it for free is such a wonderful thing.
The only other little issues I have are there is no way no import your own notification sound or use the sounds from your phone, you have to use their sounds. Every time you send a text by default a signature is attached but turning that off is as simple as going into the settings and replacing it with a blank one. Plus for whatever reason you only get 140 characters to send a message, multiple messages sent as one is not supported.
Even with all these little problems I feel the pro’s out-weigh the cons. If you need to text internationally then I suggest you take a serious look at this. I cannot go into how well the picture messages, Facebook Chat, Twitter or SmartSMS services work, personally I have never used them and have no need to use them. I feel they are a bloated extra on an otherwise fine program.
If this sound like just what you are looking for then hit up the download link and give it a try.
HeyWire – Market Link