LAS VEGAS — Cloud text messaging company Zipwhip has reached an arrangement with AT&T to capture user text messages coming in at the network level, not just at the device, setting the stage for Seattle startup to open its service to iPhone users for the first time, effectively working around Apple’s restrictions on iOS.
The breakthrough means that iPhone users on AT&T will be able to use the Zipwhip service to make their messages available on computers and other devices, as an alternative to Apple’s iMessage.
Much of Zipwhip’s user base so far is on Android phones, where Google’s more open platform allows the company to capture and replicate messages from the phone to other machines, for reading and responding to texts.
Zipwhip is now testing the capability in a friends and family beta. The company has 8 million mobile users currently, and will significantly expand its potential user base by extending the capability to the iPhone. The company is also hoping to work with other carriers beyond AT&T, said John Larson, Zipwhip chief marketing officer.
This is in addition to Zipwhip’s push to expand text messages to land lines and toll free numbers, where it has provisioned a total of about 5 million lines, making them available for texting capability.
Zipwhip is showcasing the network messaging capability at AT&T’s Developer Summit here in Las Vegas this morning in conjunction with the International CES. The company is serving coffee to attendees via its promotional Textspresso Mini machines that work via the new capability, letting people send text messages to instruct the machines to serve custom coffee.