While most of you primarily still use your mobile device as a phone, did you know that the application that you see the most on your handset is the Short Messaging Service (Messaging or SMS) application? And while the mobile device has added a whole host of features over the past few years, messaging has remained virtually the same. Sure, there have been some improvements, but one small start-up called Affle felt that SMS itself could do with a drastic change, particularly with more powerful devices running advanced operating systems such as Symbian S60, and they have come up with SMS2.0.
SMS2.0 changes the way we message not just because it is a more colourful application – it allows you to send text in colour and proper ‘smiley’ faces without requiring you, the user, to learn rocket science, because almost everything about composing and sending messages is the same, other than the fact that you can add colour to your text and a few more nifty tricks. SMS2.0 replaces the existing Messaging application on your S60 device. The service which is currently available only to Airtel subscribers, but Affle is promising that more operators will come onboard shortly. The download of the application is free and messaging charges remain the same as on the subscriber’s existing tariff plan.
The really fun part about SMS2.0 is that it also builds in a degree of interactivity. As device screens have become larger, Affle has decided to fill the bottom quarter (or less) of the screen with information that the user chooses to receive. How? When installing the SMS2.0 application, users will have a choice of several topics of which to receive information – sports, entertainment, humour etc. the delivery of content will be non-intrusive, if all you want to do is send a message, you don’t have to notice the content, but if you see a news item that takes your fancy you can click the centre navigation button to open it and read more.
And here is the best part, you do not need to pay to receive the content, as this will be funded through advertising. Every fifth or sixth screen of content will have a small advert, which you can click through if you find them irrelevant. And because the service is localised even advertisers will benefit. In fact, Affle is talking about loading ‘embedded’ adverts onto the phone, where if a pizza parlour advertises, you could click on the advert and directly call the restaurant.
The information and the adverts are downloaded during low data traffic times and stored on your device memory. Again, this does not involve users paying to access the data service. And that is the best part of SMS2.0, the fact that you don’t pay anything. SMS2.0 works on most Nseries devices, including N70, N72, N73, N95 and so on, but may not work on some of the latest devices (though it is compatible with all S60 devices) because it may not have been tested on them as yet, however Affle promises that all S60 devices should have support shortly and promises to launch the service on other platforms as well.