If you feel SMS texting is impersonal then why not check out a new service that claims to be a "voice version of a text message".

Pinger can send voice messages to mobile phones across the world without the sender having to phone the recipient first. Users simply dial a local number and provide a contact or group of contacts that will receive the message, followed by the message itself, which can be up to five minutes long.

The recipient receives a text message informing them they have a Pinger message and a local number to call to retrieve the message. Senders have the option of a receipt notification while recipients can reply to or forward the message once they have listened to it.

Pinger allows contacts to be stored with a voice tag so senders just need to say the name of the contact or group to send them a message. The service, which was originally launched in the US in 2006, is now available in 20 countries including the UK and just costs the standard charge of a local call.

In the future, customers may have to pay once they reach a certain useage limit and notifications may carry advertising to help generate revenue.