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Two top mobile apps.


The great thing about the new wave of cool mobile applications is how they are turning cell phone handsets into genuinely useful tools. Two great examples are EQO and Hotxt.

EQO lets you extend Skype onto your mobile phone, complete with buddy lists, incoming and outgoing IM chat etc – all done via their clever servers. It’s global, free at the moment for basic services and it works brilliantly. I made a an international Skype call today to a friend’s computer in Spain from my London cell phone for a SkypeOut charge of 14p a minute (vs 40p conventional cost) and the cost of a bit of GPRS data. You need a permanently running Skype server at home to act as the hub, but any old computer will do – I’m using an ancient laptop – as long as there’s a permanent Internet connection.  

I haven’t tried Hotxt yet, but it’s the same kind of principle, move communication onto the data channel to lower the rates. So you pay £1.00 a week for all the txt messages you can eat, plus around 1p a message for the data charge on GPRS. That’s a bunch cheaper than the 12p the networks charge, even bearing in mind that you pay for incoming and outgoing messages. Each text is 2.5 times bigger than the measly 165 characters of standard SMS, and it all works instantly. UK only at the moment, but I’ll see if I can get a trial account and report back. [Thanks to Rob for the nod on this.]

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