SMS2.0 : The Next Biggie?

airtel-sms21.jpgYou keep hearing about the latest phone, car, software and so on. But have you heard about the latest SMS? No, I am not talking about any latest cool messages or jokes going around in everyones mobiles. I am talking about the application called Short Messaging Service or SMS itself. I am referring to the SMS2.0, the first ever upgrade of the most widely used mobile application in the world.

This New Year, Airtel and Affle Ltd launched SMS2.0 in India. The feedback on SMS2.0 was a mixed bag of oooos! and booos! While some say it is a great improvement over the already successful SMS, others feel that the mobile giants Airtel and Affle made the mistake of launching it too early into the market and insist that SMS2.0 is a little ahead of its time.

What is so special about the new version of SMS?

SMS2.0 is an evolved version of SMS, consisting of enhanced messaging features, advertising and a futuristic search option that is still in the pipeline. One can now have colored text, fun(ny) emoticons, and scheduled messages in ones messages. These simple things can be seen in our regular chat boxes in our computers. However incorporating them in mobile phone messages really makes it convenient for one to express oneself. SMS2 also includes advertising in a totally unobtrusive manner. The user gets to pick his areas of interest and relevant content and ads are delivered and displayed non-intrusively.

This new application uses most of the SMS screen area. The beauty about SMS2.0 is that it retains the familiar SMS interface. The default content (advertisements) is placed at the bottom of the screen. Display of ads is done only when a message is being sent or when the user clicks on the ad. A possible search option may also be incorporated in the options menu as soon as the search engine, which will be powering the search, is finalized. Since SMS2.0 is based on SMS and retains many of its features and the interface, the learning curve for the users of this new application is expected to be minimal.

Despite all that, customers are not thrilled by it. The reason is that, for starters, this service is limited to few mobile handsets. It is currently compatible with the Nokia N70, N72, 6680, 6681, 6630 models. However, Nokia said that the application will work with the Series S60 2nd edition or higher handsets. Moreover, there have been reports of handsets running slower after installing SMS2.0. All these reports have led to one serious question: Are we ready for SMS2.0?

Ready or not here it comes. If your phone is SMS2.0 compatible and you have an Airtel connectivity, send SMS2 to ‘543210’ in order to download and install the application. There are no extra charges for the download or messaging using SMS2.0 as per the present mobile plans. It will be interesting to see how this develops. Very interesting indeed. Hence, all I will say is happy messaging!

Vijay Krishna