The distinction between a smartphone and a feature phone is diminishing by the day. Of course a faster processor and a bigger screen is always on the cards for the so called super phones, feature phones ability is increasing too. The increase in ability is not by going forward but by going backward. By taking a step back and looking at the ubiquitous mass communication tool called text message or Short Messaging Service (SMS).
SMS has a history and my love for it is very well documented. Actually it is not. But I love SMS. Just hate sending it. SMS which has a 160 character limit is a capability available on all the mobile phones ever manufactured. Why wasn’t this being used as a powerful tool?
In some parts it already is a powerful tool. Teens in India use SMS at will and have developed faster typing skills even on a non-QWERTY phones. Almost all the telcos in India offer free SMS packs to cash in on this craze. How about we take this a step further and introduce SMS apps? Enter Shorthand browser.
Shorthand browser is a java based app which has a very low memory footprint (377kb) and sits on a feature phone. Once the app is downloaded through an SMS, shorthand browser provides a list of apps which can then be downloaded. All of this is done through simple text messages, no GPRS and no WiFi.
Shorthand browser has a list of useful apps and a feature phone which isn’t all that powerful suddenly becomes a powerful phone. With apps like GetIT for local information, Wikipedia for global information, Facebook and Twitter for social networking any feature phone will be a information and social networking powerhouse. There are few things which you can’t yet do with SMS apps but work is in progress on that front too.
Indiatimes has recently partnered with Shorthand to come up with its own SMS browser offering a bouquet of useful services. Though not related to Shorthand, an SMS app contest was held in June and quite a few SMS apps came to light. I have discussed this at length in my other side of the app story.
SMS apps might not have the numbers to boast like an Apple iTunes store or the Android market. But they sure are useful.
To download Shorhand browser on to your phone sms “shorty” without the quotes to 09223170750. You should get a message back with compatibility and the link to download shorthand browser. Around 500 phone models are supported. Send an SMS and see if your phone is supported. With sms apps like Get IT you can save on some of your data bills.
If you send an sms from iPhone, instead of the link, this is the message you will get : “Check with Steve”