When it comes to emoticons, people either love them, hate them, or use them much too often. With the same sad faces and smiles constantly popping up in text messages and across the Internet, it’d be lovely if we could communicate a little more creatively. With TextPics – Creative SMS Art for iPhone Texting by FTW Innovations, iPhone users can send each other text messages that use various keyboard characters to create images using just what they’ve got in their hand.
The main screen provides a scroll-through menu that shows every category available, including New TextPics (newest images from their latest update), Animals, Bunnies, Celebration, Food, Other, Halloween, People, Romance, Vehicles, Japanese Emotes (standard emoticons), Symbols and Upside Down Text. In fact, TextPics features over 100 customizable ASCII images, over 70 Japanese-style emotes, and more than 100 Western-style emotes with new TextPics and emotes added every two weeks and the ability to create your very own images.
To begin, pick any category and peruse the images until you find the one you’d like to send. Tap to reveal the menu, which will present the various options: Send to Contact, Copy to Clipboard, and Add to Favorites. Those running iOS 4 can send text messages right within the application.
The bottom navigation bar presents four different tabs. TextPics marks the main page, which displays the menu of categories available. Favorites lives up to its name, taking you to a page with all those images you have marked as favorites, which will most likely end up being a list of images you use most often. Recents obviously lists your recently used images. Create allows users to make their own images, saving them to your list of favorites. Users may even find their creations appear in future TextPics updates.
TextPics’ only unfortunate aspect, however, stems from the fact that it truly only works when iPhone users text other iPhone users. While the Western-style emotes are typical emoticons and will translate to other phones, the remainder of the images, symbols and text may become distorted on other phones for they do not use the same font or format as an iPhone. So, unless the majority of your friends have an iPhone, this application will quickly render itself impractical.
For iPod Touch users, they will first need to download an application that provides texting capabilities. Then, simply copy the image to the clipboard, insert and send. This surely has its shortcomings, too, for many texting apps only allow users to text to others using that very app and many similar stipulations.
The Help button in the upper right corner of the main screen addresses the incompatibility issues along with other questions, including the fact that they will soon update to include full Facebook integration, making the app slightly more useful, though users can already copy these images and paste them into various other applications if desired.
TextPics [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.