Smartphones are becoming an alternative to computers likes Apps to softwares. Text messaging’s potential has almost been neglected.

txtWeb has built its business on this idea. Its a platform designed to allow developers create text based applications easily and release it to the community, free of cost to the users. What makes text-based applications stand against smartphone apps is the fact that computation is carried out on the servers which are capable of handling millions of queries and have much faster processors and more resources compared to the smartphone.

The second thing is that the text apps are scalable and almost universally accessible from any mobile phone ( Smartphones only make up 40% of mobiles phones today”) can utilize these apps. They connect Text to the Web (Just as their name says).

txtWeb has launched App2Fame, a contest for developers to develop and submit apps built on the platform and win prizes with total worth of Rs. 7.5 Lakh! Few of the categories are Most Popular and Business Solutions.  The contest is only open to Indian Nationals. I would recommend you to have a look at various apps in their marketplace.

There’s this App I saw, it’s called FBPage. Without internet you can access a facebook page by simply texting @Fbpage <pagename> to txtweb and get the details. It’s simply awesome because the text carrier plans are much cheaper compared to the internet ones.

Here’s an interview with TxtWeb’s Srinivasan Narayan, Head of Development Strategy.

1. Since it’s a developer driven community, what do you offer to the developers to catalyze app development?

Developers & Publishers on the platform see the potential to impact millions of mobile phone users with their work
Successful developers earn recognition for their work
We also have a ‘marketplace’ where txtWeb projects for businesses and developers can bid for the apps. Selected developers get compensated for the project. We have a constant pipeline of projects to award developers building such apps.
In addition for a significant number of our developers txtWeb provides a platform and a learning opportunity to develoeprs to apply their learning to solve for real users. An app can be used by any mobile phone so imagine the number of users a developer can reach out to, through his app.
Also we hold our annual contest App2Fame inviting developers to build apps on the platform. Every edition is different and unique and offers developers an opportunity o build apps. We also hold other theme based contests from time to time.


2. How does the backend of the process look like? Starting from the reception of users text message till it’s replied?


Essentialy a developer needs to build a web application in html and share the external facing URL with us. We take care of converting the app to SMS.


3. Could you highlight a few apps that your team has created?


While we created a few apps during the platform’s infancy over 90% of the apps on the platform are created by third party developers and businesses. At txtWeb we believe that our developer community is vital to help solve for the varied and unique problems that may exist. In fact only 2 of our own apps are in the top 10 reinforcing our belief in Crowdsourcing – it demonstrates the power of many. Some apps on the platform (not all built by us) include –

– @wikipedia– to get the Wikipedia entry on an topic on SMS
–@cricbuzz – to cricket live scores
– @tweeple: To follow tweets from famous personalities
–@fb – to update facebook status
–@autofare– for the autofare and directional points along the route between 2 points in your city


4. With smart phones getting powerful and being adopted at a tremendous rate, do you feel text is still relevant? 


There is a huge untapped market for SMS in India. SMS is a way of life today and we feel there is an opportunity to provide short bite sized contextual information on demand to people at large. According to a recent article by Internet and Mobile Association of India , SMS is the most widely used service by the connected population of the world with 2.4billion users , effectively 75% of all mobile phone subscribers. In addition we are a platform play, where users on the one hand get a standardised platform to access any kind of information without premium charge as and when they have a requirement, on the other hand developers get a unique opportunity to learn this technology, build an app that could impact millions as well as innovate with their aplications. Who wouldn’t want to build an app that can attract a million users and who wouldn’t want to use a service that has no premium charge associated with it and provides you all the information you need right at your fingertips by texting to a number?

But importantly our vision to enable access to information & services. SMS is a channel of delivery of these services to the user and as the markets evolve we will continue to add other access features.