Quick, how many phone numbers do you actually know off the top of your head? Ask anyone under 40 and you’ll probably get the same answer. They know their own for sure, and their spouse’s cell, and probably their parents’ home phone number as well because they’ve had the same one for the last couple of decades. But that’s probably about it.
Because everyone (and literally, their mom) has a cell phone these days, when most people get a new number it just goes straight into the phone as a named contact. Instead of dialing (555)555-5555, we just tap a name to make a call.
Now, however, Sprint
users can hand out a vanity alias to new friends and contacts with a service called **Me. In a nutshell, **Me lets you create a custom name that people can use to call you if they don’t have your actual number programmed into their phone. For example, if your name is Jerry, you can use **Jerry as your handle. Or perhaps if your nickname is “Mad Dog”, you can opt for **MadDog. Monikers must be at least 5 characters in length but no more than 9, not counting the two stars.
The service costs $2.99 per month, but there are no additional usage charges beyond your normal Sprint plan. Currently, **Me will only accept calls from Verizon
, T-Mobile, AT&T
, and other Sprint customers, and **Me doesn’t accept text messages yet. The ring-through feature works on any device, but additional features such as automatically sending a text reply to a missed call or the ability to direct callers to your contact info stored online are Android-only for now, although iPhone support is in the offing.
It’s a quirky service, but letting users give out easy-to-remember aliases instead of 7-digit phone numbers is a terrific idea.