Couple of years back, Intuit launched txtWeb, a dynamic-content publishing and service-creation platform for making information and services available via SMS for free. This platform was a hit both among developers as well as users. txtWeb claims to have over 5 million monthly users and over 3,000 active apps on the platform.
The way txtWeb works is that a user sends a keyword to a national number (92665 92665) and received a reply by text almost instantaneously. One main issue with the service was the discovery of keywords/apps.
But now, Intuit has taken the platform to the next level by launching an Android app. One of the unique features of the app is that it works with or without data connectivity. The txtWeb Android app currently has access to the 150 most active apps on the txtWeb platform.
The Android app is well laid out with a large focus on the discovery of keywords.
On opening the app for the first time, one is prompted to accept its terms of service, which then appears as a summary in a SMS after one accepts it. This is mainly a precautionary measure due to the DND restrictions for mobile companies. The DND permissions are needed since the app responds by sending SMSes back. One can easily deactivate this easily by sending a SMS to 92665 92665.
The app comes with a lot of personalization options like a favourite app list and a history list, which shows the recently used apps. The featured tab showcases selected apps. This section seems to be lacking and we hope more apps are added to it soon.
When there is no data connectivity, the app pops up a warning before sending the SMS keyword request. In this case, one would receive the response only as a SMS and not in-app.
A major issue with the app, is that when you are connected to the net the responses appear both in your SMS inbox as well as in the app.
Another issue we faced while testing the app was that the responses for some of the keywords was delayed to a large extent.
While the Android app serves as a good discovery for keywords, the fact that it showcases just 150 of the over 3,000 available on the platform defeats that very purpose. Another roadblock we see for this app is that in case a response is needed from the user side, it needs to be typed out and there is no touch interface as such to choose from.
Overall the txtWeb Android app is a great app to show the flexibility of the txtWeb platform, but for a smartphone user who has access to whole world of more responsive apps, this app might come just handy when there is no data connectivity or internet access.
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