You’re sitting at your PC and you receive a text message, so you pick up your phone, unlock it, read the message on the small screen, and type one back using the touchscreen keyboard. Why not use your PC instead?
If you’re already sitting at your computer, you can take advantage of your computer’s keyboard to send and receive text messages. The utilities here are primarily for Android phones — Apple doesn’t allow developers to do this with iPhones.
If you’re in the US, you can also do this with Google Voice using any type of phone — see below for more information.
MightyText offers an Android app that you can install on your phone. After linking the app with your phone’s Google account, you can log into MightyText from any browser using the same Google account. There’s also a Chrome extension that alerts you to new text messages as they come in.
The MightyText website allows you to send and receive text messages via your browser. Text messages will be sent via MightyText to the MightyText app on your phone, where they’re sent out of the network as standard text messages. MightyText will also capture incoming text messages, forwarding them to the MightyText web app.
This means you can install an app on your phone and then use your browser to send and receive text messages. It’s a slick, polished solution for texting from Android phones via your browser.
Install the AirDroid app on your Android device and it will function as a local web server. You can then access AirDroid in a browser if you’re on the same local network as your phone. AirDroid provides a variety of ways to interact with your device — downloading and uploading files from your browser, managing your installed apps, and even sending and receiving text messages.
Just install the app on your phone, launch it, type your phone’s address in your browser, accept the connection, and click the Messages icon on the AirDroid page. You’ll be able to view and send text messages via your browser from the comfort of your keyboard.
AirDroid doesn’t require any accounts or other setup — it’s capable of functioning entirely locally without any third-party servers involved. As a result of this, you will need to re-establish the connection in your browser when you take your phone and laptop onto a different Wi-Fi network. AirDroid does a lot of things — it can do more than MightyText, but MightyText feels much more optimized for sending and receiving text messages.
Google Voice (US Only)
Google Voice isn’t an Android-only solution. If you’re in the USA, you can get a free Google Voice number and use Google Voice with any phone — even landline ones. Google Voice can function a your main phone number, allowing you to forward incoming calls and texts to other numbers.
Google Voice also allows you to send and receive text messages via your browser from the Google Voice website. You can also install the Google Voice Chrome extension to send and receive text messages from your browser’s toolbar.
Best of all, Google Voice is entirely free to sign up for. Sending text messages with Google Voice is also completely free, while you may be charged by your carrier to send text messages if you use the above services — this depends on what your carrier charges you for text messages.
If you live in the USA and are willing to sign up for Google Voice, it’s a great option. Best of all, it can be used by anyone, even people who don’t even own a cellphone. Everyone can use the Google Voice website. Apple’s iPhone has an official Google Voice app you can use, while Windows Phone users will have to look for third-party Google Voice apps.
You could also try using a messaging service that replaces text messages, allowing you to send messages for free — some such services offer desktop apps, too.
Image Credit: Maik Meid on Flickr
Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.
- Published 08/24/13