From the November 2002 issue of Entrepreneur

Want to connect with colleagues quickly and save money while doing it? Mountain View, California, Handspring employee Brian Jaquet relies on SMS messages from his wireless Treo 270 PDA--especially when trying to reach co-workers in Europe.

Although Treo also sports a cell phone and e-mail, an SMS burst is quicker, says Jaquet, and it avoids per-minute voice charges--international or otherwise.

While carrier incompatibility has slowed U.S. adoption, AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Verizon and VoiceStream subscribers can now message each other. Sprint PCS and Nextel subscribers are limited to their own networks.

Most new handsets have SMS; inexpensive monthly and per-message plans are available. Also, most networks let you receive messages for free. Messages are limited to 140 to 160 characters, but that's often just about right. PDAs with thumb-type keyboards like Treo or RIM BlackBerry are downright fast.

According to IDC, by this time next year, 8 million of us will be sending SMS notes.


Erik P. Nelson is a technology writer in San Francisco and a frequent contributor to Entrepreneur.

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    189 Bernardo Ave., Mountain View, CA 94043, (650) 230-5000