textPlus, currently Canada’s most popular free texting app, is expanding into the VoIP game today with a rebrand to Free Texts + Calls. The newly-launched Android app, and soon-t0-be-launched iPhone client, allows users to register a unique phone number for anywhere in the US or Canada and text/call one another for free.
It works similarly to a number of apps we’ve looked at recently, including the popular Dell Voice, Viber and Vonage. What sets textPlus apart is its enormous established userbase with millions of iPhone, Android and Windows Phone users already using the SMS replacement service. Adding calls to the mix was a natural evolution, according to CEO Scott Lahman. “Our goal at textPlus is to make texting and calling available and affordable worldwide, so everyone can participate in the conversation. Today’s launch in Canada brings us one step closer to this vision by providing the seamless communication experience that consumers expect, but offered for free or at an extremely low cost.”
While signing up gets you 10 minutes of free calls to non-textPlus numbers, you can purchase additional minutes for a reasonable price: 99c for 30 minutes all the way up to $19.99 for 1000 minutes. Texting is free to anyone in the US or Canada without textPlus, and it’s possible to make the client your default SMS app on Android.
The interface has been updated in this latest version to take advantage of Android 4.0 and the ICS Holo design guidelines, and it looks and feels great. I encountered some stability issues, and messages to non-textPlus nearly 30 seconds to go through, negating much of the usefulness of the app. But for those with a lot of friends on the service (it asks you to scan you contact list before signing up, and can sync with Facebook to link up disparate users) the app has the potential to be a money saver. You can even earn minutes by taking advantage of built-in offers (though many of them involve playing Zynga games, which makes me feel dirty).
textPlus is also optimized for Android tablets, with a very attractive two-pane interface when in landscape mode. You
Download textPlus Free Text + Calls from Google Play.