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Monday, April 28, 2008

Update : Jaxtr stops free viewing of SMS

This post is expected to appear at 0215 IST - 3 hours after I had uploaded it

Hmmmm!!!!! This evening I messaged a friend using Jaxtr. However, instead of receiving a reply on expected lines, she sent back a message asking ’msg kya hai’ which translated in English means ’What is the message?’. Now this struck me as odd since it was quite evident that she had received an SMS but yet she was asking me what the message was. Sending an SMS on my own phone revealed the answer - SMS messages sent using Jaxtr will no longer arrive directly in your inbox, ie, no more free viewing of SMS sent using Jaxtr.

Instead it will send you a link asking you to log on to the Internet - either through WAP or GPRS (url is or a normal desktop Internet connection. Once on the page you enter a email id after which you get to read the SMS and reply back if need be. Earlier Jaxtr sent you the SMS directly to your cellphone’s inbox and if you wished to reply back, only then would you have to log on to the Internet and follow the procedure mentioned above. So this spells the end of free SMS sending and, with that, any interest Indians would have in this service, in its current state. This step has been taken by them essentially to generate more revenue, as the page that opens up contains URL to other similar but non-competing services. As they have already admitted to the possibility of introducing premium services in the future, probably a premium user would be allowed to send SMSes directly to the cellphone.

Anyway, in India, making use of this service just to send SMSes doesn’t quite make much sense (neither economic nor practical). Sending an SMS costs me Rs. 0.4 INR (around $0.01 USD) and it would have a much lower chance of not reaching the recipient (31st Dec/1st Jan being the exception). But it is quite interesting to be able to send data across services that essentially use different protocols and technologies for operation - primary reason why people here send it anyway, reliability notwithstanding.

If you still wish to send SMS through the Internet, then here in India two services that appear to work fairly well are - Yahoo! mail and Indyarocks. You need to register though before being able to send ou those messages.