Free text messaging services aren’t anything new, but the recently-released HeyWire breaks the mold a bit by offering a static, unchanging phone number that you can give out to your friends to let them text you, free international text messaging to and from 114 countries, and a web-based interface that allows you to send text messages just like you would using a standalone instant messenger like AIM, Skype, or Google Talk.
The free, ad-supported app is available for Apple devices, with Android, BlackBerry, and Google TV versions coming in the fall. The company is even planning "HeyWire for TV, gaming devices and e-Readers" next year.
Aside from simple texting, HeyWire also integrates with Facebook chat to allow you to send the same message as both a Facebook instant message and a text message at the same time. The web-based version (photo, below) of HeyWire aggregates text messages, Facebook messages, Twitter, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, and Windows Live Messenger.
I had a chance to see HeyWire in action at an event last night, and it looks pretty slick. It’ll be huge for iPod Touch owners who want to be able to communicate with their iPhone-owning friends, and the web-based interface adds a nice extra layer of functionality. That, and the ability to drop your texting plan if you’re sick of paying extra for it, as well as being able to freely send and receive text messages while abroad without incurring roaming charges ought to entice plenty of users to check out the service.
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