The iPod touch doesn’t have a phone, but that doesn't mean you can’t text. There are numerous iPod touch texting apps that assign you a "phone number" that you can use to send and receive texts. Most of these apps are free--so what’s the catch? Nearly all of the free apps contain lots of ads, but that's probably a small annoyance in exchange for unlimited texting. Keep in mind that you’ll need to connect your iPod touch to a Wi-Fi network to use these texting apps.
The textPlus app (Free) offers free unlimited texting on your iPod touch by setting up your own “phone number” that you can give to your friends and family. This ad-supported texting app supports group texting, so you can send one message to multiple people. TextPlus also uses push notifications so you won’t miss a message. You can send messages to phones on most major carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. You can see a full list of supported carriers at textPlus.com. Overall rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Like the textPlus app, TextFree Unlimited (Free) assigns you a phone number that you can share with others. It requires a Wi-Fi connection, but once connected, you can send unlimited texts from your iPod touch to cell phones on any U.S. carrier. TextFree Unlimited also supports push notifications, so you’ll receive your texts even if the app isn’t open. Like most free texting apps, TextFree Unlimited contains ads. Overall rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
TextNow (Free) works much like the other iPod touch texting apps, in that you get a phone number associated with your account and in exchange you have to look at some ads every so often. If you don't like ads, you can subscribe for US$5.99 per year. TextNow also includes a good amount of customization -- you can add custom wallpaper, upload thumbnail photos, or share your number on Facebook and Twitter. Overall rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
If you regularly send text messages to large groups of people (or wish you could), the Brightkite Group Text app (Free) is worth a look. You can send one message to up to 25 people, and the app syncs with your contact list so the process doesn't take very long. However, the app doesn't assign you a phone number. While your friends can reply to your messages, they can't initiate a message to you unless they download the Brightkite app and find you in the friends section. Overall rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Textie Messaging (Free) works a bit differently from other iTouch texting apps. Instead of assigning you a phone number, the app uses your email address to replicate the texting process. When your recipient receives a text, your email address will be displayed in the "from" line, but you'll still receive messages right to the app. You can send one text to multiple recipients, and the app supports push notifications so you can stay on top of your messages. Overall rating: 3 stars out of 5.
TigerText (Free) is another app that allows users to text from the iPod touch. There’s no charge to send text messages, and you can import contacts directly from your address book. The TigerText app is all about privacy, so you can control when and if a text message is deleted from your recipient’s phone. In addition, the texts you send cannot be forwarded. The biggest downside? Everyone you text must have the TigerText app installed on his or her phone, which limits its usefulness. Overall rating: 2.5 stars out of 5.