Soldiers can SMS loved ones from overseas

From an Internet-equipped computer in Iraq, soldiers can broadcast text messages that could, at once, print out on thousands of cell phone screens across the world.

The newly rolled-out service is meant to give warfighters in the Middle East a quicker link to home, letting them send words of comfort to anyone from parents to poker buddies, said Robert Dozier, Webmaster for the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center, which purchased the text-messaging software about two months ago.

"When you're deployed, you take a part of your community with you with your unit," Dozier said. "But the rest of them, you leave at home."

The service was demonstrated at FOSE, the Washington trade show that wraps up Thursday.

The center, capitalizing on a growing text-messaging market, tapped the Mobile Messenger Broadcast Edition technology developed by Dulles Micro LLC of Sterling, Va. Dozier said because the Web-based service is so new to soldiers abroad, he doesn't know how often it's been used.

The service has been installed on the center's Web site, www.armymwr.info, and is available for free, one-time downloads from Dulles Micro's Web site, www.dullesmicro.com.

It will send messages to users of cell phones that operate under 93 commercial wireless networks worldwide, including those of major carriers such as Cingular, Sprint PCS and Verizon.

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