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Cosmos for Android lets you browse the web via SMS

Mariella Moon, @mariella_moon
September 16, 2014
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In many parts of the world where LTE and 3G aren't as accessible, something like the Cosmos browser for Android could be incredibly cheap and useful. This upcoming Android app, you see, doesn't need data to work -- you simply plug in a URL, and it sends back a simple, stripped-down version of the page via text messages. On the project's GitHub page, its developers explained that once you input a URL, the app texts it to their Twilio number, which then forwards it to their backend. The system then gets the source code of the website and nukes the CSS and javascript to deliver a series of clean text messages to the user's phone.

Obviously, this method will have a number of limitations: you'll need an unlimited texting plan, for one. And, even if you do, you might experience delays and missing text messages if you're requesting particularly long pages, like Wiki entries. It certainly can't replicate the experience of a proper web browser, but as one of the developers told Fast Company, it's one "way for people to get information when they're in dire need of it." The browser's developers plan to release the app as soon as the end of September, but you can look at the project's codes right now over at GitHub. If you can't wait, though, you can try a similar, experimental app called Smozzy launched a few years ago, initially for T-Mobile subscribers.

Update (09/18/14): You can now get the latest updates on the Cosmo browser from its new website.

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