While social networks make the world seem like a smaller place than ever before, there are some aspects of technology that just don’t seem very forward thinking. I can’t be the only person who finds it weird that I can send a tweet or email to someone in a different country basically for free, but if I try to reach out to someone in another country on my phone, I get charged an arm and a leg. There’s a cool desktop app for PCs and Macs called Pinger that’s hoping to cut through the barriers that limit SMS/text interactions.
What is it and what does it do
Pinger is a free desktop app that allows you to send unlimited SMS messages around the world for free.
Take note Pinger is available on both Windows and Mac OS X. We specifically reviewed the Mac OS X version for this article but both versions are pretty much the same.
- Sends texts to people in over 35 countries for free
- Syncs with Pinger app for iOS devices
- Pinger Desktop gives your computer its own real US or Canadian phone number
- Recipients don’t need to have Pinger…or even own a smartphone
- Block numbers
- Instant read-message confirmations
- Available on both Windows and Mac OS X
- Some users have reported severe stability problems with this app
- 35 countries may sound like a lot, but bear in mind that there are something like 196 countries in the world…there’s definitely room for improvement
- Official website does not list support for Windows versions below Windows 7, meaning XP and Vista may or may not be supported (I didn’t test it — post in the comments below if you try it on those Windows)
The sign-up process for Pinger is pretty painless, as is adding a new contact. There’s also a phone keyboard style interface, if that’s your bag. You can right click on a message to delete, copy, or forward it.
The ads do take up a large portion of the right hand side of the app, and can be a little distracting. It’s a small price to pay, however, for being able to text your international friends and family right from your desktop. Overall, the UI is decent, if a bit sparse and lacking that certain “intuitive feel” that the best-designed apps have.
Some of the countries supported for Pinger Desktop include Panama, Venezuala, the UAE, Taiwan, Hungary, and India (limited carriers.) A full list can be reviewed here. It does seem like some countries you could expect to see on here from Europe are missing, but this app is a good way to touch base with people in Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.
During testing, both text messages and pictures were received shortly after being sent. I saw a ton of user complaints, some even for this version of the app, that suggested my user experience would go downhill after prolonged use, or after getting responses from my recipients. I experienced no crashes or stability issues, however. I did have one experience where I got two notifications for the same message, but that was the worst of it.
Conclusion and download link
For people who want to stay in touch with their friends around the globe for free, or for people who vastly prefer composing their SMS texts with a full keyboard instead of a virtual keypad, Pinger Desktop could be a helpful addition to one’s app arsenal. This app is one to watch over the coming months.
Version reviewed: 1.2.1
Supported OS: Windows 7, Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Download size: 27.8 MB (Mac OS X), 29.4 MB (Windows)