Send Free Text Messages From Your iPhone

Last Updated Dec 2, 2008 10:03 AM EST

If you routinely burn through your allotted monthly text-message allowance and end up paying exorbitant fees as a result, you'll appreciate this: SMS Touch [iTunes link] lets you compose and send text messages via e-mail, thus avoiding SMS charges altogether.

Of course, anybody can send a text message via e-mail, but you have to know the recipient's carrier and proper format for the address. SMS Touch takes the guesswork out of it: You just choose a recipient from your address book and the app handles the routing. Any replies you receive land in your e-mail inbox -- not quite as convenient as traditional SMS, but at least you don't get charged.

As an added perk, SMS Touch works in landscape mode, giving you a comfier widescreen keyboard on which to tap-type. Not bad for a one-time charge of $4.99. I'm a light texter, so I can get by on my 200-per-month allowance, but heavy texters can save big with this app -- and maybe even drop down to a less-expensive SMS plan as a result. [via Gizmodo]

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.