Before Twitter bought Atebits, Loren Brichter was busy. Not only was he hard at work on a follow up to Tweetie for Mac and a version for the iPad, but he had a secret side project that no one knew about. Until now. Meet Textie.
Textie is a dead-simple application with one purpose: free and beautiful texting for the iPhone and iPod touch. Given what a complete and utter rip-off traditional text messaging is, it’s a little surprising that there hasn’t been any backlash against the format. Instead, it’s exploding in usage. But as apps such as TextPlus have proven, there’s clearly a market for people who want to send messages without the fees. While TextPlus focuses mainly on group texting, Textie’s angle is to keep things clean and simple. The key ingredient is the interaction between the app and email.
Once you download Textie (the app is free and ad-supported by FusionAds, or you can pay $1.99 for an ad-free version), you register by tying it to an email address. You can tie it to multiple addresses, and even U.S. phone numbers. This is the way that people will be able to communicate with you on Textie. When you load the app, you simply select the person’s email (or phone number) from your address book and send a text or picture message. If they have the app installed and registered to their email (or phone number) they’ll get the message within Textie. But even if they don’t, they’ll get an email (or regular SMS) with the message. If they respond to it, it will go right to your Textie app.
This seems like a very smart way to get people to use your app. They can install Textie if they want to, but they don’t have to for you to still be able to use it with them. And installing Textie will make the process just a tad more seamless. “It effectively replaced SMS for me,” Brichter says.
Brichter built Textie alongside the creators of Borange, a nice, simple social activity app that we wrote up in December. Both teams clearly have a great eye for design, and Textie is no different. It’s simple just as the iPhone’s default messages app is, but with little additions here and there such as the way photos are attached to messages when you send them. This seems like the perfect app for an iPod touch, which of course, doesn’t have SMS capabilities.