Vodafone Offers PC SMS Software

Vodafone are capitalising on the huge and frankly unexpected success of text messaging by giving away free PC software that allows users to send text messages from their computers.

Compatible with either Microsoft Outlook or IBM’s Lotus Notes, Vodafone Text Centre makes sending SMS messages as easy as sending an (expensive) email.

Although the software itself is free, sending a text message costs the usual amount (about UK£0.10, €0.15). Cleverly, replies can be directed to the senders phone, or to their Text Centre inbox. Other features include sending messages to multiple distribution lists and a calender function to send a text message to remind you of a meeting – if you somehow can’t remember to set either the calender in your phone or PDA.

Orange released a similar product recently, the PC Messenger. During testing at the office, we were disgusted to see that the test text we sent took 12 hours to arrive – not quite to what texting is about. Not surprisingly we haven’t used it again.

Every month, nimble-fingered mobile users send more than two billion grammar-free text messages in the UK. Indeed, texting accounted for 16% of Vodafone’s revenue in the last financial year, which must be startling profitable when you consider the service essentially costs next to nothing for the network operator to provide. By providing a PC client for texting, Vodafone is no doubt hoping to increase the market still further.

Vodafone Text Centre

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?