iPad users now have iMessage after upgrading to iOS 5 but the thing that iMessage lacks is the ability to send text messages to people who do not have iMessage.
We have found some great alternatives that allows users to send Free text messages to phone numbers over Wi-Fi or 3G without racking up texting charges.
These apps also take advantage of the large screen of the iPad making sending and receiving text messages easier than ever. They are all free (ad supported) and they are all universal, meaning they are available for your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
All of them have been updated for iOS 5, so you can configure how you want to receive notifications in the notification center.
TextFree for iPad
TextFree for iPad is a free text and picture messaging app made by Pinger, Inc.
After downloading the TextFree app, it only takes a few minutes to get your account set up and get your free phone number that can be used for sending and receiving text messages.
The TextFree interface on the iPad is clean and simple with only one ad at bottom of the screen. There is an option to remove the ad for $5.99 a year.
After setting up an account, users can also visit pinger.com and send free text messages on a Mac or PC. Pinger’s website also offers a Web interface for the TextFree service where you can not only send text and pictures but view any messages from the past 72 hours.
TextPlus is a popular iOS app that allows users to send free text, picture messages and voice notes with a few additional features.
The app has a Communities section where users can start a community on any topic with friends or make it public and anyone can join it. You can easily add your Facebook contacts from within the app and send Group texts. Group texts allow you to send the same text to multiple recipients at the same time.
There is a store within the app where users can remove the add by paying $2.99 a year. The store also gives you the option to choose a different phone number and purchase sound packs.
Getting stated with TextPlus is simple. Download the app, enter the required information, you will get a free phone number and you’re ready to start sending and receiving text messages.
TextMe has a nice interface that makes sending and receiving texts, pictures, videos and voice messages simple on the iPad. The messages can be sent to any mobile phone number in United States, Canada, Mexico, China and more than 40 countries in the World for Free.
Users can choose from 4 different themes and customize their background with their own image (the app crashed a few times when changing themes.)
With TextMe, users can create Groups to send text messages to multiple people at the same time. TextMe also gives uses the option to remove the ads by paying $4.99 a year or $0.99 a month.
Any of these apps are an excellent choice for text messaging on the iPad. If you are looking for more social features integrated in a text messaging app, TextPlus would be the best choice. If you want to send text messages from your computer and your other iOS devices, you will want to go with TextFree. My personal favorite is TextMe just because of the nice user interface on the iPad and how well the service works.