Ping! bounces off text-message charges on the iPhone

If you are looking to chat SMS-style with other friends that are also iPhone users, then Ping! is the perfect application for you. Simple and less than a buck, the Ping! iPhone application gives you an inexpensive alternative to paying for text messages.

Once installed, you can begin to message friends by typing in their usernames. An interesting mix between a chat client and an SMS service, Ping! enables you to view entire threads of conversations with friends.

If you do not know any of your friends’ Ping! usernames offhand, you can invite others to join you via email. You can also make things easier for future use by filling in your basic account information, which is not necessary for signing up with Ping!

Unfortunately Ping! is quite limited in functionality and does not support media-sharing. Ping! also does not work nearly as seamlessly as other chat clients that can organize buddies into lists and can save your chat history.  For many, simply using Twitter on their iPhone achieves the same goal and avoids the exclusivity of restricting use to iPhone users.

Even with the safety features taken into consideration, including the fact that you can use Ping! as a way to communicate with others without having to reveal personal information such as your mobile number, Ping! has several free alternatives. 

However, any iPhone user looking to cut back on cell phone costs may welcome the Ping! application in lieu of the extra monthly charges for an unlimited text-messaging plan.

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