Quick Pitch: Ping! is simplified iPhone-to-iPhone messaging with push notifications (also works with iPod Touch). It uses a unique Ping! ID, and works similar to Blackberry Messenger so that messages can extend to friends anywhere in the world without text messaging costs.
Genius Idea: Although text messaging has come down in cost over the years, it’s still not free. A number of mobile applications work around that though, and let you send free messages to other users. Ping is one such application — after you download it for 99 cents from the iPhone app store [iTunes link].
One of the best aspects of Ping is that it uses push notifications, which makes it much more like regular text messaging. Simply download Ping, create a username, and start messaging your friends that also have the app. It also lets you link Ping contacts to your address book and works on iPod Touch, which extends its reach to the more than 40 million people that have either an iPhone or iPod Touch.
That is of course the downside of the app – it’s only for iPhone to iPhone messaging, so it can’t quite replace text messaging if your friends use other devices (or, don’t sign up for Ping). TextPlus, another app we’ve reviewed, actually does the opposite, letting you use an iPhone app to send text messages to any phone number, though we’ve heard that they plan to add app-to-app messaging as well.
The ideal messaging app would seemingly have a version for multiple platforms (iPhone, BlackBerry,Android, etc.) and also support texting to non-users. That’s likely the direction most of these companies will ultimately move in, but we’re not quite there yet.