Want to bypass iPhone SMS fees for Twitter updates? Get JustUpdate

SMS (text message) rates in general are ridiculous, but they’re arguably worse for Apple’s iPhone 3G. Whereas the original iPhone included 200 free text messages with your data plan, the 3G data plan includes none and laughably charges you $5 for 200 of them. This is problematic for heavy users of the micro-messaging service Twitter.

You see, many Twitter users use SMS to send status updates to the service. Depending on how active you are, you could blow through those 200 in a very short amount of time and would then be getting charged $0.20 per message. Those fees can add up quickly.

Seeing as you are already paying for unlimited data (not including SMS data) with the iPhone, it seems obvious to simply use either the web client or one of the many native applications that works with Twitter to send in your updates. Unfortunately, this can be a cumbersome process because these services wait to load up all of your Twitter messages before allowing you to send an update. Twitter’s actual web app is faster, but is so poorly designed that it’s almost unusable — especially for updates.

But a new application in the App Store gives you the ease of SMS without the fees. JustUpdate is simply a big white area to write in that allows you to do one thing: Update your Twitter status. Once you sync up your Twitter account, updates can be sent to the service in seconds. It also has the handy character countdown to let you know how many letters you have left at your disposal.

I’ve been using JustUpdate for the past few days and it is definitely staying on my main screen for those time when I feel the need to update in a hurry. It’s not a robust app, but it does exactly what it says and most importantly, bypasses any SMS fees.

Carrier SMS fees recently forced Twitter to suspend outbound text service in all countries by the U.S., Canada and India.

JustUpdate was developed by Patrick Quinn-Graham. It is available for free via the App Store. Find it here.

You can find me on Twitter here along with fellow VentureBeat writers Eric Eldon, Dean Takahashi, Anthony Ha, Chris Morrison and Dan Kaplan. Oh, and we have a VentureBeat account (for our posts) as well.


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