If you left your Android phone at home in San Francisco, then hopped on a plane to New York, you could still receive texts and phone calls in the concrete jungle if you happen to have an app called MightyText downloaded on your phone and access to Google Chrome on your computer.
Maneesh Arora, a co-founder of MightyText, thinks it's silly that we can't get texts on our computer, so he created a company to solve that problem. MightyText pushes text messages and calls from Android phones to the computer screen. So far, Arora says, "we have routed over 18 million SMS messages since our beta launch just 2 months ago."
MightyText will soon give users access to old texts and allows them to search through them: Think Gchat for text messages. And if a call comes in, it shows the user who is calling and alerts the user about the missed call. Arora says, "our users love being able to text while working." That way if users leave their phone in their purse or pocket, they can see who is texting.
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Android is expected to become most popular smartphone operating system in the world, according to International Data Corporation--making Android a good platform to build this communication tool on. Andy Rubin who runs Google's Android operating system unit recently tweeted: There are now over 500,000 Android devices activated every day.
At this point in the game, Arora sounds like a salesman for Android, describing MightyText as a Slingbox for your phone. "[My co-founder and I are] ex-Googlers, so we are Android lovers. [Building for Android] wasn't a choice--it was only technically feasible on Android," Arora says. MightyText does a full sync and doesn't affect anything on your phone, it just mirrors the messages sent to your phone and routes them to your computer via a server.
Arora had his "aha!" moment when he worked at Google: During meetings, everyone was on laptops and used Gchat. But when his wife texted him, he had to reach into his pocket. "So strange. With 6 trillion text messages sent per year, SMS is still broken. Why can't I search a text from last month, from anywhere, at any time?"
Google Voice offers a similar service, but users can't use the same phone number that they use for their cell phone. Another difference is that Google Voice sends texts to e-mail, not through a browser in the form of an instant message like MightyText does. "Our view here is that Google Voice just doesn't cut it," Arora says. "There are too many complications and it is awkward. We push the message in real time to the computer once it's off the phone. Technically, we could push it anywhere but we wouldn't without explicit user permission."
In the future, Arora wants to extend the service from your computer screen to devices like an iPad. "We want to send texts to where ever the eyeballs are," Arora says. Currently, only Androids with operating system 2.2 and above can run MightyText; all users have to do is download the Android app and Chrome extension on their Web browser.
Arora says users love using the app at work, so they can text from their desks without worrying about where their phone is. And let's be honest, it allows them to be a little bit more discrete so their boss might not notice that they are indeed working and texting.
To try it out for yourself, go to the MightyText home page and use the code: CNET-MIGHTYTEXT.