Information for Texting on the Kindle
By Serm Murmson
Texting, or text messaging, is the sending of short, text-based messages over a phone network. A 2010 Pew study found that Americans sent over 188 billion text messages – monthly. Because texting is so popular, many non-phone devices are now capable of sending and receiving text messages. In the Amazon Kindle family of devices, the Kindle Fire is able to send and receive texts in a number of ways.
Basics of Texting
Texting refers to the use of the Short Message Service (SMS) protocol to send short messages between phones. The maximum length of a text message is 160 characters. If a message is greater than 160 characters, it will be broken into two parts and sent as two messages. In order to text on your Kindle, you must use an app or Web service that employs the SMS protocol.
One of the easiest ways to send and receive texts on the Kindle Fire is through the use of an app. Once installed, the app can send an receive SMS messages as if it were a cell phone. Some of the free texting apps for the Kindle Fire include textPlus, TextNow, and Skype. Skype is free to download, but SMS use can incur a charge if you are texting a phone instead of another Skype user. In order to successfully send a text, all of these apps require that you be connected to the Internet through either a Wi-Fi connection or the 3G network.
Texting from a Web Browser
It is also possible to text from a Web browser in a variety of ways. Because the other Kindle family devices have experimental Web browsers, you can text from any Kindle using these methods. Once connected to the Internet on your Kindle, you can direct your browser to an online texting service. Joopz, txtDrop, and TextingHome are among the free ways of texting from an Internet browser. In addition to these services, you can send text messages to a phone from your email account. In order to do this, you must know the texting domain of the recipient's cell phone provider. Lastly, you can send text messages through a Google Voice account. The Google Voice service gives you a unique phone number, and all of your texts sent from a Google Voice account will appear to come from this number.
Problems with Texting from a Kindle
Aside from the need to be connected to the Internet, there are a number of possible problems with sending texts from your Kindle. First, most of the methods of texting from a Kindle will send messages that appear to come from a different source than your phone number. Therefore, the recipient may not know who is sending the text, and may ignore it or misinterpret it. Second, some apps and services will not allow you to send texts to an international number, or may charge a fee for doing so. Lastly, while texting from a Kindle is relatively easy, cell phones have character limits on the length of messages. Messages received on a cell phone are broken into parts if they are too long. Therefore, if the recipient only has a certain number of text message allotted per month, you may consume their allotment by sending lengthy texts.
Serm Murmson is a writer, thinker, musician and many other things. He has a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago. His concerns include such things as categories, language, descriptions, representation, criticism and labor. He has been writing professionally since 2008.