Zipit Wireless announced today that it will launch a text-messaging plan for its Zipit Wireless Messenger 2 in February of next year. The Zipit 2 is a small device that allows users in a Wi-Fi hotspot to do free instant messaging with AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and Windows Live Messenger.
Zipit users who register for the text-messaging plan will now be able to send and receive information over cell-phone networks, as well as communicate by instant message. For $4.99 users will be able to send 3,000 messages a month. Before February, people who signup for the service can text message for free.
The Zipit 2 costs just under $150 and has a keyboard and color screen. The device also hosts a 2GB hard drive for the storage of music and video files but isn’t able to connect to the Internet.
One nice feature about the text messaging service is that only messages sent from user approved numbers are accepted. Spam is eliminated. On the downside, a message can only be sent to one person at a time.
I don’t think the cell phone business is going to get much competition from Zipit. Messaging is restricted to Wi-Fi zones so the user isn’t very mobile. The text messaging service only allows the user to send a message to one person at a time. And a user can’t peruse the in Internet. The text messages are cheaper than most cell phone carrier plans but the downsides of Zipit outweigh the upsides. I suppose it might be good for pesky teens who can’t be trusted with a cell phone but anyone else should stay with mobile phones.