Shorthand Mobile uses SMS to bring apps to non-smartphones

We’re always looking at the next great smartphone, but it’s easy to forget that most people are still rocking feature phones or dumb phones. Shorthand Mobile is trying to bring apps to the masses by launching a service that will utilizes SMS for web content.

“While there is incredible buzz around mobile app consumption, in reality, only 12% of the almost four billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide actually have data plans,” said John McDonough, CEO of Shorthand, in a prepared statement. “This has left countless people sidelined when it comes to accessing mobile content. Shorthand is changing that.”

Shorthand TextApps is launching in beta today for some Motorola and Nokia handsets on AT&T, and it will shoot users without data plans SMS content from social networks, weather forecasts, movie times, news, and more. Curiously, it will also be available for Windows Mobile phones on all four U.S. carrier – I guess some people don’t want to have to use data unless it’s absolutely necessary. There are some big names using the service, including Facebook, Netflix, Google, ESPN, The Wall Street Journal, and Yelp.

It’s a solid idea because I used to signed up for a ton of SMS services when I had my Helio Ocean with unlimited texts, and I did really like immediacy of the information. While I still think a well-done app with a proper notification system is better, it will take a while before smartphones are the majority.

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