Pushbullet app connects phones, tablets, computers

(Graphic courtesy of Pushbullet)

In an age where electronics are supposed to help connect people and make communication easier, it can be frustratingly difficult to keep track of all of the content, messages and notifications on the various devices that a person might own.

To alleviate this problem, the mobile app Pushbullet unifies all of the alerts and messages that a user might receive across various systems into a single network that users can access from any of their devices.

For example, a user that receives a text message would receive a notification not only on their phone but also on their tablets and computer desktops, effectively mirroring notifications.

In addition to the mirroring functionality, Pushbullet also allows users to respond to and interact with notifications from any of their devices that have Pushbullet enabled.

Another useful feature that Pushbullet offers is the universal copy and paste functionality. Instead of having to copy long phrases of text or numbers by hand onto other devices, users of Pushbullet can simply use the copy and paste functionality to copy text from one device to another. This can be incredibly useful for transferring text messages or phone numbers to computers or phones.

Users can also browse and transfer files across multiple devices using the file-sharing functionality of the app. In essence, this allows users to create their own “cloud” for storing and accessing personal files. This feature, however, must be enabled by the users on the devices between which they wish to share files.

For all types of communication between devices, the app also offers built-in encryption for any messages or files that the user wishes to secure.

As for ease of access, the layout and configuration of the app on phones and computer desktops are basic enough to allow practically any user to be comfortable using the app, no matter what their experience with technology may be.

On desktops, the app will even pull up a small circle with a contact’s name and picture whenever you are having a conversation with that contact, similar to the conversation feature available on Facebook’s Messenger app.

One major drawback to the app, however, is the recent changes made to the app’s revenue model. Previously, all of the app’s features were completely free and unlimited to users.

While this was great for users, the app’s lack of ability to profit led the creators to change their model. Last November, the company created free and premium tiers of service. The premium version of the app is charged at either a monthly rate of $4.99 or an annual rate of $39.99. Instead of adding features, however, the company restricted previously free features of the app.

For example, users of the free version of the app are restricted to only sending 100 text messages and 25 MB of data sent from other devices per month, as well as being unable to use the universal copy and paste function.

The functionality offered by Pushbullet is incredibly useful for users who wish to have a unified, streamlined experience across all of their systems, but the recent attempts by its publishers to monetize the app have set the app back from realizing its full potential.

The concept and execution behind the app, however, allow it to be an essential app for users at every level of technology, so I give Pushbullet 4 out of 5 stars.

Pushbullet is available on both the iOS and Android app stores.

I’m Rafael Garcia, co-editor-in-chief at the Collegian. I’m a junior in journalism, campus visit coordinator for the JMC Ambassadors, and the vice president of social events and communication for the Edgerley-Franklin Urban Leaders. I come from Emporia, Kansas, home of the Twinkie, world’s best tasting tap water and journalist William Allen White. I’m passionate about journalism because I love people and their stories, and I want to find and tell those stories here on campus. In my spare time, I’m a Chihuahua wrangler, doughnut enthusiast, Netflix watcher and racquetball player. Contact me at rgarcia@kstatecollegian.com.