Ina Fried

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Verizon Adds iMessage-Like Capabilities to Its Text Messages

Aiming to add life and utility to the venerable text message, Verizon on Thursday announced a service that allows short missives to be read on multiple devices.

“A message sent to a customer’s mobile number will appear simultaneously on his or her PC, Android smartphone, and Android or iOS tablet, making sure an important text message will not be missed no matter what device they’re using,” Verizon said in a blog post announcing the new service. “The message will be delivered to the other devices and stored on the Verizon cloud for up to 90 days unless deleted by the user.”

On the PC, the service is browser-based, while on iOS and Android devices it requires a Verizon Messages app that can be used in place of or alongside the standard text messaging app.

The new program, now available in Google Play and the Apple App Store, is a significant expansion of Verizon Messages. Earlier versions of the app had more limited features, such as the ability to save text messages to an SD memory card.

Apple, of course, delivers iMessages to multiple devices, but only of the Mac and iOS variety. Other services also deliver messages to multiple devices, but one thing that makes Verizon’s approach particularly interesting is that it does this with standard SMS messages.

On the PC side, Verizon Messages works with Chrome, Firefox (with a plug-in) and Safari 6.0 and higher. A Verizon representative said the Web version also works in Internet Explorer but users won’t get the pop-up notifications for new messages that they get in other browsers.

Here’s a video Verizon did showing the service in action.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus