Text messaging got your cell phone bill going through the
roof? Save a couple bucks while you're at the computer with Cherple! Cherple bridges the gap between text messaging and instant messaging with a simple client, and you can even demo the service without installing anything.
The website is set up to make getting started with Cherple a real breeze. Just load up the page, and click where it says to "TRY IT". First, you'll be asked to create a recognizable handle for yourself, and who you're sending the text to. Next, put in the telephone number you wish to send the message to, and you're basically connected. The person who you're texting will have to accept your invitation to join them in a Cherple chat session.
What's great about Cherple is that you don't even need a cellular account to utilize the service. You can enter in virtually any telephone number around the entire U.S. and get connected just as if you were instant messaging the cell phone on the other end. In our tests, Cherple worked quickly and accurately, with little or no clutter in the messages. Some similar services have too many "tips" or advertisements in their messages to be truly comfortable, but this is definitely not the case with Cherple.
Another cool thing is the option to use the website for the
service, or to install a desktop client.
If you're not constantly as your browser, the client will provide the same functionality without having to keep a web page open. You can even embed the Cherple client to your own website, and give your clients a direct, on-site way to instantly contact you with inquiries, which is really a great way to market services if you're in the business.
We might look for a few new features in future versions of Cherple, in order to make it truly integrable into every aspect of instant messaging. Perhaps an AIM extension, or even a FireFox add-on might make the useful service even more accessible. The makers of Cherple may also think about creating Facebook, MySpace, and other social network modules to enhance compatibility with a diverse internet audience. All in all, though, Cherple is a well conceived service with a simple, customizable application that is probably a good recipe for success. Next time you want to send a text, give the old thumb a rest, and give Cherple a try!