How to send SMS or MMS text messages from your PC or tablet using your Android phone number

android-sms-01

Our little Android devices can do almost as much as some PCs, but it’s easy to forget that your smartphone is still a phone at heart. And with all the instant messaging services available for you to communicate, sometimes text messaging gets put in the backseat to the more robust features of something like Google Talk. Being able to keep up a conversation across multiple devices is incredibly handy, and it’s often much easier to type on a full computer keyboard as opposed to a smaller smartphone keyboard.

Using instant messaging isn’t without it’s flaws, however. If you have friends that all use different IM services, or friends without smartphones, it can be difficult to keep up with all of them in different programs and browser tabs on your desktop, and in the case of messaging someone without a smartphone, you’ll have to use your phone to send traditional text messages anyway. With this guide, we’re going to get into a few different apps that add many of those instant messaging features to your SMS text messaging, including being able to send texts from different devices and syncing conversations across devices.

desksms

DeskSMS is an application developed by Koush, who’s also responsible for a handful of other extremely useful Android applications, like Carbon, which we’ve discussed as one of the best ways to backup your phone data. The premise of DeskSMS is simple; you link your phone to your Google account, and sign into a website (or browser extension) with your Google account, and you immediately have access to your SMS logs and can freely send and receive texts, all from the comfort of your full-sized keyboard.

DeskSMS is great for a number of reasons. First, it’s simple to set up, and simple to use. Sending texts is just like opening up an app on your phone, typing away, then hitting enter to send the text. The devices don’t need to be connected to the same WiFi network or through Bluetooth. As long as they’re tied to the same Google account, you’re in business.

Second, DeskSMS offers many ways to send text messages. Want a browser extension for Chrome or Firefox? No problem. Would you rather use a website? You can do that. Maybe you want your texts to link into your Google Talk account or Gmail account? You can do that, too. Possibly the coolest feature of DeskSMS is text forwarding to Google Talk (or any third party IM application that supports Talk), so you can essentially turn a text conversation into an instant messaging conversation without the other person doing anything differently. Koush also offers a TabletSMS app, which syncs and pushes your text messages to any tablet with the app installed. Of course, you may not even need to do that if you’re using the Google Talk or Gmail forwarding, but we’re never going to complain about having more options.

DeskSMS itself is free, but the service costs $4.99 per year. Of course, for the convenience of being able to send text messages from any internet enabled device, it’s definitely an app worth passing up on coffee one day for.

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Play Store Download Link

mightytext

SMS Text Messaging ↔PC Texting from MightyText is similar to DeskSMS. It’s an easy to use, free app that syncs SMS from your phone onto your computer or tablet. It works very similarly to DeskSMS by syncing through your Google account, but it does also offer a handful of extra features, like the ability to see your phone’s battery level and see who is calling you on your phone before answering. It also lets you securely back up your SMS and even MMS messages to MightyText’s servers, which is handy for extra data backup. MightyText also offers tablet texting via an extra app just like DeskSMS. Plus, there’s no monthly or yearly service charge to pay for here.

MightyText is extremely functional, but it is a bit more bloated than DeskSMS. If you’re looking for all the extra features, you’ll definitely want to give this app a shot. Below is the main app to download, and the companion tablet app. You’ll only need the tablet app if you want to text message from your tablet.

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Play Store Download Link

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Play Store Download Link (Tablet App)

tablet-talk

If you’re not much on communicating on your computer, and it’s more about the tablet for you, then Tablet Talk might be the way to go. It’s more lightweight than either of the first two options and doesn’t need to latch onto your Google account to make things work.

Essentially, Tablet Talk tethers your tablet and your phone together, either through a WiFi network or Bluetooth. Once connected, Tablet Talk becomes a fully functional SMS application for your tablet and automatically syncs up with your phone messages. It also adds in the ability to make phone calls through your tablet, which neither of the other options can do. While holding a tablet up to your face isn’t practical, if you use a Bluetooth headset and would prefer to do everything through your tablet, this is a great option.

Tablet Talk is very functional, and there’s only one app you need to install. It automatically detects if it’s installed on a phone or tablet and sets up accordingly. And if you’re into extreme customization, there’s plenty of themes for Tablet Talk in the Play Store.

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Play Store Download Link

verizon-messages

If you’re a Verizon customer, you have access to a solution for cross-device text messaging through your Verizon phone number. Their Verizon Messages application is a simple way to enable that functionality; install the app and link up your Verizon phone number and you’re good to go. You can use the app on your PC or tablet and see up to 90 days of saved messages, and freely send and receive SMS.

The Verizon app also has a few other unique features, like the ability to set up an auto-reply, report spam messages, full group messaging support, and even a widget with a badge counter for unread messages. It’s definitely a robust app, and if you’re already a Verizon customer, this one is definitely worth checking out.

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Play Store Download Link

These are three extremely simple-to-use apps to enable text messaging across multiple devices to help SMS keep up with instant messaging. A few OEMs do offer this functionality through other services on their products, (Samsung’s KIES software comes to mind) but in many cases, it’s easier to pick your own software for compatibility and flexibility. Are there any apps you use that didn’t make the list?

» See more articles by Jared Peters


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  • Kary Krismer

    Wouldn’t having text messaging on multiple devices make many forms of two factor authorization rather ineffective? Conversely it would make them easier, because you wouldn’t have to track down your cell phone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelseyklevenberg Kelsey Klevenberg

    Jared, I’m curious about your take on Zipwhip (disclosure: I work there). I was surprised to see that we weren’t up for comparison given our user numbers (7mil) and data processing (500mil messages/month). Did you try any other services besides the ones featured in the article, out of curiosity? Thanks for featuring this technology in your articles!

    • http://twitter.com/ActuallyIsJerry Jared Peters

      Honestly, I’ve never even heard of Zipwhip. With those numbers I’m surprised I missed it. I’m definitely going to give it a try for a few days, especially since it has a desktop app. (and it’s free)
      You never know, we may update the guide and throw it in. ;)

    • justinCf2

      zipwhip is stupid. people get a text from some random number and dont know who it’s from.

  • Ben

    You’ve missed out Browser Texting. An app I’ve been using for a year or so. I had tried desk sms and mighty text before I settled on Browser Texting, however it has been a while and I may have to reevaluate the competition. At the time however Browser Texting was the simplest and nicest looking in my opinion (Chrome extension and website)

  • Mike sierra

    “Tablet Talk is completely free” – WRONG

    • http://twitter.com/ActuallyIsJerry Jared Peters

      Brain failure on my part. Got it updated. Sorry!

  • Geri O

    Using the Verizon Messaging. It works across my Droid Razr Maxx HD, my iPad, and with the web page and signed into my Verizon user account, my MacBook Pro. It ain’t perfect, it’s clumsy, and kinda ugly. But it does work. And it’s free. I guess that’s one good thing about being with Verizon.

  • swtrainer

    I’ve started using Mighty Text. I is so simple to install and it up and running in like 30 seconds. That’s what it says on the Google Play apps page and when I installed it, they weren’t lying. Once installed, it works with Chrome, IE, or Mozilla Firefox on PC and it allows you to send SMS, send MMS, and even click the call button and have your cellphone call people. AND, its totally free…an app I’d be willing to pay for if necessary, but its not necessary.

  • puff

    You could just use google voice completely free with extensions for chrome and firefox plus you can put it on your tablet and it all syncs seamlessly

    • http://twitter.com/ActuallyIsJerry Jared Peters

      I didn’t put Voice in the article because it involves essentially using another phone number. I use GV and I think it’s a great product for some situations, but unless you port your number into it, you’re going to have to give out a new phone number to everyone you text. That initial hurdle is kind of a pain.

      • David Carpenter-Warren

        And it’s no longer available anyway. : (

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  • JAMES SIMPSON

    Hi I have tried lots of software. I finally downloaded SMS Control Center and this worked. I can send a text from my PC via a USB cable to my android and then onto Orange. This is synched and then shows on the phone. I can then use my laptop to send a text and will show on my laptop and phone. When I plug my phone in to my PC and synch it then shows up on my PC. It is a but involved to install, as you have to download to your PC, get the APP from Playstore and also load an APK file to the card in your phone. You can drag the file or scan it. It was a bit hit and miss at first, but I reloaded everything and it worked OK. It maybe that you are better to restart your PC and have no other programmes running and also wait a bit for SMS control center to open up before connecting. I even tried with my modem disconnected just in case it was connecting via the internet.
    No connection with this company and I would recommend it. Exactly what I wanted.
    Brian Simpson

    • João Matos

      Hi James, I am also using SMS Control Center and so far it is working as I expected. I am just having an issue though… I can only connect to my desktop using Bluetooth or WIFI. I am not being able to connect via USB. I have enabled USB debugging on my phone but the result is the same. Did you have to perform any additional configuration to connect with USB? I have a cyanogen rom and have installed windows 7 in my desktop.

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