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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Textfree Unlimited is a workaround for kids and tweens who don't have a cell phone, but still want to text with their friends (and who covet the all-important phone number). It's also a way for iPhone users to lower the text charges on their monthly bill. The app assigns a random phone number, making it compatible with SMS providers. It's very ad-intense, though -- and if you want to do away with the commercials, it will cost $5.99 per year. As with any texting program, the messages (and the level of acceptability of those messages) received by your child depends greatly on the sender. The app does not accept sent pictures, though, preventing your child from receiving inappropriate images.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Is it any good?
Today's phones are often used more for texting than calling -- and the costs of those SMS messages can add up quickly. TEXTFREE UNLIMITED lets people text as much as they want without causing a spike in their phone bill. The reliability of the app is pretty solid. We didn't encounter any "dark" periods when testing, regardless of time. Receivers always got their messages promptly and their replies were just as speedy. The volume of ads is annoying, though -- and tacking on a recurring annual fee to a free app feels a bit iffy. (The app used to carry a one-time charge of $5.99 for no ads.) Parents will still need to monitor who their kids are texting and what's being said, but for the budget conscious, this is a good alternative.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Subscription price: $5.99 per year to eliminate ads
- Release date: August 9, 2010
- Category: Social Networking
- Publisher: Pinger, Inc.
- Version: 3.5.1
- Minimum software requirements: OS 3.2 or later, Android 2.1 and up