Pinger announced their worldwide instant voice messaging service a couple of days ago. It's a bit like a text message, but using voice. You simply call the local Pinger number (858 2 PINGER in the US), enter the mobile number of the recipient, dictate the message and press send. The person at the other end gets notified by text message, dials a local number and listens to the message. Messages can be up to 5 minutes long, which is part of the appeal when compared to a standard SMS 120 character limit. Messages can be broadcast to groups of people and messages don't incur carrier long distance charges.
“Even people who love SMS get frustrated with its character limits and the inability to express yourself like you can with your voice. You can’t sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in a text message,” says Joe Sipher, Co-founder, Chief Marketing and Product Officer of Pinger. “Just as powerful, Pinger provides the ability to send a single voice message to groups of people around the world or in your home town.”
I can see this being a popular and fun tool for my kids, and a real money saver for families who live far apart. Would I use it myself? My initial reaction was no, being very textually oriented. For example, an important personal criteria for me when choosing a phone is whether it as a QWERTY keyboard. Then I discovered that they had a very nice looking BlackBerry client. I'll give it a test drive.
More details at the Pinger website.