How many devices do you use to keep in touch with people? A smartphone, most likely, and maybe also a tablet? And if you haven’t yet, could you be picking up a smartwatch one day soon? While having access to all those gadgets might sound like the perfect way to make sure you stay connected, juggling multiple devices can create new problems of its own: how do you sync conversations across all these screens, especially when we’re talking about different platforms, form factors, and widely varying hardware capabilities? AT&T has come up with what sounds like a graceful solution, announcing NumberSync to coordinate text messaging across devices.
NumberSync works a bit similarly to services like Google Voice, but instead of forwarding one number to multiple lines, NumberSync allows users of Mobile Share Value plans to have texts sent to one number appear on other devices associated with the same account. For instance, you could receive and reply to texts sent to your smartphone’s number from your cell-connected tablet, or a SIM-equipped smartwatch – with AT&T’s infrastructure keeping all that communication synchronized across devices, and even across mobile operating systems.
Full details on compatibility aren’t available just yet, but we know that Android and iOS hardware will be supported, that you’ll need a VoLTE-compatible phone, and that NumberSync won’t require its own app – instead it will find support from the native messaging systems on all these models. And maybe most importantly, it won’t cost users a dime – so long as they’ve got the compatible hardware they need on an MSV plan, NumberSync will be free to use.
There are still some important limitations to consider, like how right now NumberSync is only set up to support a single smartphone and a number of companion devices – so it won’t coordinate messages between multiple smartphones – but that sounds like an issue AT&T may consider addressing at a future date.
Update: NumberSync supports voice calls, where the hardware allows, as well as access to voice mail.