Thursday, October 30, 2008

Airtel Voice SMS - Evaluation

The Airtel Voice SMS ads are booming almost every other minute on TV. It looked to me a cool new feature and a welcome addition to the mobile services. Oh boy! Was I wrong..

It does allow you to send a voice sms - just press *, the recipient no. and you get an option to set a language!! I never understood why this was required in the first place!! I have interacted with the airtel voice responses a thousand times before; why would they not derive it from there? And more importantly, why would somebody need to set a language preference for as quick task as to send an SMS, though its voice? It did not give me the price details but gave me a rather lame, language selection option.. Strange!

Now for the best part. I sent the SMS from my wife's mobile to my own to test it. Once I completed my recording, I had no option how to close and send. I had to hang up. Thats was it! It did not tell me if this would go thru or due to hanging up, if the sms is lost..

Immediately after this, I get a ring on my own mobile (where I had sent the voice sms to).. I get a ring.. Not an SMS tone!! Now it looks like Airtel folks do not know the difference between the concepts of an SMS vs Ring. If I wanted the recipient to immediately respond to my message, I would have called up anyway.. why would one go thru all the trouble of sending a voice sms...

I take the call and it requires me to select a language again. Whew!! I select it and I get to hear the sms, at last!!.. Now what I dont understand is, an SMS is sent so that viewer can view the message at a later time, if not possible immediately. This option does not let me hear the SMS later. What happens if I miss the ring? And the ring just says calling, the recipient has no idea its an SMS... 

A case of blatant non concern for usability from one of the biggest brands of India!!


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