Smozzy Gives Free Web-Access Via Texting On Android Phones

Smozzy, new Android app launched with the help of T-Mobile’s unlimited messaging plan, helps users surf the web for free. Smozzy intelligently encapsulates the communication between the browser and the web as SMS and MMS, thereby enabling users who do not have unlimited data plans to use their Android devices to surf around. The app is currently in beta, and has been tested only on Nexus S and HTC G2 devices.

Smozzy simply acts as a wrapper around the standard Android browser and instead of using a data connection, everything is channeled through SMS and MMS.  When a link is clicked, the app sends a web request to Smozzy’s intermediate server (instead of sending a packet to a remote web server) via SMS. Smozzy’s server handles the request and entire remote resource is downloaded (HTML, images, CSS and Javascript) and zipped up. The Zip file is then encoded as a PNG image and delivered back via MMS in multiple chunks. Upon complete delivery, the app simply reverses the encoding and compression process and renders the webpage.

With Smozzy you are not going to have a fast web surfing experience and since SMS or MMS have no quality-of-service priorities at T-Mobile’s cell towers, it takes approximately 10-15 seconds to load a page. Nevertheless, with no data plan it’s a blessing to have free web access.

Smozzy is really an ingenious hack, however there are some downsides as well. Currently the app does not provide any encryption possibility. Which means that if the users have to sign into some web applications, their user ids and passwords would be sent out in plain text. In addition to this, the availability of Smozzy is also not guaranteed since the entire service currently runs through one man’s, cheap-and-cheerful VPS. In the end, there is also a high probability that T-Mobile will patch this hole to shut down Smozzy. But till it lasts, you can enjoy the app by downloading it from here.

 

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