Egyptian blogger from Cairo.
Revolutionary Socialist.
Partner & Creative Director at ThePlanet.

Ping! Messaging Service for iPhones

The iPhone and iPod Touch application store just got bigger and better. Ping! is a new service emulating the BBM feature of Blackberrys. The idea is simple: instead of using SMSs which are costly across borders, and instead of using an IM (like Skype, MSN, etc.) which are standalone applications, require you to log in and out, and eat away the already deficient battery, Ping! gives you free instantaneous iPhone to iPhone messaging.

If you download the application, you choose a username, and that will be your identification. When you would like to send a message to anyone with Ping! installed anywhere in the globe, you will be using an interface that is just like that of the SMS, but instead of typing in the phone number, you’ll punch in the name. The message gets sent immediately, and the recipient receives an instant notification that he or she has a message waiting for him to read (just like an SMS).

As if an SMS

As if an SMS

What happens is that you are not charged by your carrier, because the message is sent using the network’s 3G (or whichever internet connection your are on). Since the message is simple text, the bytes sent are minimal, and thus the cost is close to nothing. After that, instead of having an IM open, you have this application running, but it does not consume any resources. It’s sole function is to provide you with a “push” notification as soon as a message is received. Therefore, you’re not charged for an SMS, using minimal iPhone (or iPod Touch with wifi) resources, and you exchange messages that are identical to SMSs, but are absolutely free!

Ping! conversation

Ping! conversation

It was quite the genius idea behind the Blackberry, and it was anything but a bad one to bring the same technology to the iPhone. The application is currently free (for a limited time), and is not expected to be too pricey when it goes commercial. Wouldn’t be nice to have the same technology, but applied to VOIP, allowing users to make free calls at anytime, anywhere in the world? Perhaps only a matter of time.

UPDATE: Credit to my good friend Reem Abulleil for bringing the subject to my attention, and recommending me to write up a post about it. You can visit her Tennis Blog, TV Blog, or follow her on Twitter: @ReemAbulleil.

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6 comments

Amr Adel Amin

October 3, 2009

But most IM clients on the iPhone behave the same way. I see this as uselessly redundant.

Reem

October 3, 2009

Helloooo?!?! No credit whatosever?!?!?! Shame on you Shalablab! Hehe

Tarek Shalaby

October 3, 2009

Until you use it, it’s only normal to deem it redundant. The major differences behind this service and that of an IM client:

1. You do not have a dedicated interface. It is seamlessly integrated with you phone’s SMS interface, making it considerably convenient

2. In an IM, you have to log in, and you are constantly sending and receiving bytes to remain connected, which uses up bandwidth supplied to you by your provider, and your battery will die out sooner

With a service such as Ping!, you’re not logged in anywhere, and there’s no “application” running. It is simply a connection to the Ping! servers whose sole function is to notify you the second you receive a message.

Therefore, if you are constantly communicating with someone in another country, it is a (relatively) free and instantaneous messaging service. Pretty cool, I would say.

Reem

October 3, 2009

Yeah I agree with Tarek. iPhone IM apps like Fring and Skype are very different than Ping! … Like he said: “In an IM, you have to log in, and you are constantly sending and receiving bytes to remain connected, which uses up bandwidth supplied to you by your provider, and your battery will die out sooner” …

Ping! is so simple and efficient. It’s definitely the way to go. Especially when you’re traveling.

Amr Adel Amin

October 3, 2009

I see your point of view but I still fail to agree.

I think Ping! is a nice alternative but it is certainly not revolutionary or anything.

1) It can’t be seamless because it’s not really integrated in the first place. It only looks like the SMS app but otherwise has no relation. As a matter of fact, I have to say the GUI is quite terrible. The particular use by this app of a dark color scheme is not very pleasing. I have nothing against darker color schemes but there’s something off about the look and feel of this app in particular. Additionally, the app is rather buggy. If you type quickly, the text sort of “twitches” on the screen. Try it!

2) If I’m signed on with say BeeJive and using its push notifications while the app is not running, it uses the same exact battery and bandwidth as any other app that supports push notifications, including Ping!. All apps that are not running but support push notifications use very minimal data to keep a steady connection so that they can receive push notifications if they arrive. So I still can’t see an added benefit over BeeJive.

While BeeJive is not a free app, there are other IM apps that are free and also support push. So in effect, I can do everything Ping! does plus more because it’s not just limited to iPhones. The people I contact can either be logged on with their iPhones or can use their computers running any OS platform. So with BeeJive — or its alternatives, of which there are many — I can tap into AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo, etc at the same expense (battery & bandwidth-wise) as Ping!

This won’t stop me from using Ping!, especially if more people I contact use also use it, but I just see it as redundant.

Amr Adel Amin

October 3, 2009

Also:

Try switching Ping! to landscape. Sometimes the text goes off the screen. I’m telling you, it’s quite buggy. I understand it’s only the first release too and I am not putting down the hard work put forth by its developers in the least bit. But it’s got quite a bit to go in my eyes.

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