Sabeer Bhatia Launches JaxtrSMS App [Review]

A bit of history first: Jaxtr was earlier a VoIP service that launched in India and had to shut down owing to illegal usage. Later Sabeer Bhatia’s Sabsebolo acquired Jaxtr in 2009.

And now, Sabeer Bhatia has launched JaxtrSMS, a mobile app that allows users to send unlimited free text messages to any other phone anywhere in the world.

Jaxtr SMS : What’s the App Aboutjaxtr-sms-logo

Jaxtr SMS is a new app from the stable of Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail guy – if you dont recall). The app is positioned very much in the same space as Whatsapp, KiK messenger with the additional advantage of sending the messages through SMS when the recipient is not on Jaxtr. This comes on the heels of a similar announcement by SMS Gupshup – about their own messenger and phone.cc (netcore).

Here is how it works –

  • You download the app.
  • It asks you to sign up with your name and phone number
  • In Android, your phone number is verified by sending a self SMS ]
  • In iPhone they send you a verification link by SMS to your phone
  • Once the phone is verified, the inbox looks very much like the native inbox in these OS
  • You can select a recipient from your address book and send a message
  • At the server they determine whether the recipient is on Jaxtr or not
  • If the recipient is not on Jaxtr, then an SMS is sent (from a US number) with the message text along with a snippet to download jaxtr on the phone
  • If the recipient is on Jaxtr then of course the message is sent directly to the user’s inbox.

In terms of functionality, the messaging is very similar to that of a Whatsapp – with your phone number becoming your only identity and being used for messaging. We guess it also uses a jabber based implementation at the back end for the communication to ensure real time delivery and feedback.

A couple of points to note though –

a) All SMS for non Jaxtr users are sent from a US number. It remains to be seen how scalable this is because of the SMS costs potentially growing fast if someone wants to spam

b) It is available on a variety of platforms – that’s super cool and is a clear differentiator from others in the space

c) In the Android version, they could have the capability to intercept SMS and show in their inbox – something that the SMS Gupshup messenger is sure to have and phone.cc toys with.

d) We think its a great idea to customize UI for each platform rather than have a one size fits all solution

Bottomline – this by itself is a good product, but enters a market already populated by heavyweights like Whatsapp. It doesn’t identify a niche which differentiates it from the others – therefore needs a lot of marketing and Bhatia’s money to get noticed vis a vis the others.

Do try JaxtrSMS and share your opinion.

[Reproduced from Appnomy.]

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