A Tour of Push Notifications Using Textfree Unlimited
The day has finally come that push notifications are available for iPhone and iPod Touch with the new firmware 3.0 update. This capability is one that many iPhone/iPod Touch users have been anticipating for some time now. It will enhance the usefulness and function of many apps. One app in particular caught my interest. So, I took a look at exactly how Textfree Unlimited will work with this new function.
The addition of push notifications to Textfree Unlimited allows you to receive a notification when you receive a text using the app. When you open up your Textfree app, it will ask you if you want to allow push notifications (the most recent update is required). If you tap “OK,” they should be enabled. Now, when someone texts you to your textfree.us account you will receive a notification. This is regardless if the app is running or not or if your device is locked or not. It works much like getting a text message on an iPhone.
The notifications come in three different ways, the alerts or pop-up windows, sounds, and badges seen as a number in the upper corner of the app icon on your screen. In the Settings app on your device you can choose to turn any one of these on or off at any time.
I tested this app sending and receiving texts first with my iPod Touch on when the app was closed. Next, I tried locking my iPod. The push notifications still came through (very cool). [Update: Push notifications on an iPod Touch will only work when the iPod is locked if it is connected to a power source (either your PC or charger), it will not work otherwise. Thanks to Brick for the comment.] With the new addition of push notifications, the need to pay for the ability to text is near zero. The only limit now is the range of your Wi-Fi network.
Testing push notifications on an iPhone was near identical to the iPod Touch tests but with two exceptions: no need to be connected via WiFi (obviously) AND push notifications work whether the iPhone is locked or not.
If you’re looking for an alternative to text messaging that AT&T’s plans, or you have an iPod Touch, the introduction of push notifications makes Textfree a whoooole lot better.
Textfree Unlimited is $5.99 in the iTunes App Store.
Textfree Unlimited is not the only app to take advantage of this new capability, though. Other apps that make use of push notifications include AreMySitesUp (Free), Tap Tap Revenge (Free), Star Defense ($5.99), Pollen (Push) (Free), Weather Alert ($0.99), AP Mobile (Free), Leaf Trombone ($0.99), E*Trade Mobile Pro (Free), and Hey Where Are You (Free). Many more apps are coming that will support this functionality, keep checking back for more updates.
For more OS 3.0 information check out: iPhone OS 3.0 is here. Where to Start and Changes to check out