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MOBILE ACCESSORIES -- OCTOBER PART TWO

 

VEGA MOBILE MESSENGER, £99

SMS (short message service) is a useful but under-utilised facility for relaying brief text messages to GSM and Orange digital mobile phones. Almost all GSM phones can receive SMS data, a few can send it as well. Messages can be sent to GSM phones via a bureau, though most users elect to create their messages on a personal computer, and send them to the network’s message-handling computer using standard PC communications software. The latter option is cheaper and more direct, but it does involve knowing your way around a comms package, setting up data transfer protocols, modem speeds, and having the appropriate telephone number of the network’s message handling centres.

 

Mobile Messenger from Vega simplifies the whole process. It’s a new Windows-based application, that will enable anyone with a suitable PC and modem, to send a text message to a GSM or Orange phone, plus a range of BT alphanumeric and tone pagers as well. Mobile Messenger can also communicate with Mercury pagers, but this involves the user paying an additional fee or £25, to set the system up.

 

The software is contained on three 3.5-inch discs and loads into the PC in the usual way from Windows Program Manager. The software ‘engine’, is designed to work optimally on fast PCs, preferably Pentium models. It will run on older machines but it can be quite slow to load.

 

After installation the desktop display appears. The recipient’s mobile number and network have to be entered, then the message can be composed in a text window; The Cellnet, Orange  and Vodaphone networks can handle text messages up to 160 characters long, and that includes spaces, and the user’s electronic ‘signature’, that  has to be added to the end of each message.

 

When the message has been completed simply click on the ‘send now’ button and Mobile Messenger does the rest. It dials up the message centre, deals with all the log-on procedures, and transmits the text. A transmission report then appears, to show whether it has been successfully sent, or not, as the case may be.

 

A useful facility called ‘confirm receipt’ allows the sender to check whether or not the message has actually been received by the target phone on Cellnet and Vodaphone networks. Mobile Messenger dials up the network message centre and if all’s well, displays a confirmation message, with a reference number. (Orange plan to add this facility in the near future).

 

Messages can be sent singly to individuals, or to groups, either straight away, or scheduled for transmission at a pre-defined time and date. The scheduler will re-try a number of times, if the first attempt is unsuccessful . Details of outgoing messages are stored on a transmission log, along with the first 26 characters of the text. We tried Mobile Messenger on Cellnet, Vodaphone and Orange networks, successfully in all cases.

 

Mobile Messenger has been very well thought out. It’s easy to use and has a lot of useful facilities that will appeal in particular to business and corporate users, though it’s equally applicable to individuals, and should help a lot more GSM phone owners users make use of this handy but underrated feature.   

 

It’s worth pointing out that each SMS message on Cellnet and Vodaphone networks costs the sender 10 pence, in the case of a mobile to mobile transmission, BT land-line to mobile messages also cost 10 pence, plus the M-rate charge, which is currently 28 pence a minute. Orange users have to pay a £2 subscription and £10 connection fee, senders are charged at 5 pence per message.

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price     £99

Features           SMS messaging software for GSM phone networks

System             IBM PC or compatible, 486 processor or later and MS Windows 3.1 or later, 4MB RAM, EGA or higher video adaptor, Hayes compatible modem                    

Contact Vega, telephone (01706) 44177

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT   85%

 

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Ó R. Maybury 1996 0208

 


 

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