Sending SMS messages to any local destination may not be a big issue for most mobile users, thanks to carrier offerings and smartphone applications that allow internet-based messaging even in cross-platform scenarios. However, two limitations/issues associated with such an approach usually exist. First, in most cases, the recipient has to be a user of the same app that you’re using (e.g., Viber or TextFree), and second, the same app may not be available for one particular mobile platform, thus greatly reducing usability for the users of said OS. Enter JaxtrSMS – a free, cross-platform application that not only provides diverse platform compatibility, but also lets you send text messages to virtually any mobile number on the planet, irrespective of whether the recipient uses JaxtrSMS or not. Details to follow after the break.
Similar to other apps of its kind, JaxtrSMS utilizes an internet connection (WiFi or data both) to deliver your text messages. Where it differs from competitors is that the audience of your text message does not require having JaxtrSMS client installed on their mobile device. The messages you send would go to the normal SMS inbox, and what’s even better, they will appear from your own mobile number to avoid any confusion as to who the sender was. As of now, JaxtrSMS features fully-functional apps for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian and Java-based phones, and a Windows Phone client is in the works.
For the sake of this review, I tested the iOS app for JaxtrSMS, and hence, that’s the flavor you will find below.
Registration was fairly easy, and the verification text message was instantly received. The main interface is pretty basic (and somewhat similar to the native Messages app on iOS), with a list view of all conversations, sharing buttons at the bottom and Edit and New Message on top. Search function is also supported through a search bar on top of the conversation list. It is worth mentioning that the JaxtrSMS will not import any conversations from the native Messages app, nor will JaxtrSMS conversations show in the default client.
JaxtrSMS integrates with your contact list, so any contact you wish to send a message to can be looked up, just like the regular messaging mechanism. There’s nothing fancy about the way threads are displayed, either – conversations bubbles are exactly like what we are used to on iOS – so what you basically get is pure functionality without familiarizing with a new interface.
The message delivered is appended with your first name, phone number, as well as a link to download JaxtrSMS. The best part, as I said above, is that the recipient does not need to have the app installed. Sampled below is my conversation with our very own Sameed, where he received my text message in his normal SMS inbox, differentiated only through the above-mentioned additions.
The applications adds some options to be configured in iOS’ native Settings app, but there are hardly any mention-worthy preferences to be adjusted. You get to see your registered phone number with the service, polling time in seconds, maximum number of records to be displayed, notification for outgoing messages and enabling debugging mode.
As far as the iOS version of JaxtrSMS is concerned, there are no in-app ads, despite being free. One minor annoyance that I faced was that when a recipient responded, I rarely got to see the response in JaxtrSMS, but it always went to the native Messages app. Since the app utilizes the contacts’ phone numbers, that’s hardly a hindrance, but would’ve been better if things actually went the way they should’ve been.
To summarize things, I believe JaxtrSMS is one useful app, better than most alternatives, solely due to its multi-platform support and the fact that the recipient does not need to have the app installed. That said, having tested the iOS version only, the interface can use some cosmetic uplift. Needless to say, the app requires an active internet connection to work. Give JaxtrSMS a try for your platform, and drop us a comment with your findings.