08
Aug
unnamed

Android's selection of good incoming Caller ID apps is a bit meager. While a search of the Play Store yields many options, most of them are deficient in one important way or another (or, not free), or flat-out sketchy. One of the more popular ones was actually WhitePages Caller ID - which Current Caller ID replaces, as it's made by the same company.

What makes WhitePage's app special (and better than others), in part, is that it utilizes the company's rather extensive curated directory of phone numbers - over 300 million currently.

Current Caller ID also brings in a social element, pulling data from your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts to provide even more information about the people calling you. Current can show recent Facebook and Twitter status updates, the weather at the caller's location (I have no idea how this would be useful, ever, but it does it), and local news (again, not sure why, but why not?).

These extra social features are really only applicable for people you've connected with on those particular networks, though - Current won't, it seems, find a particular business's social pages and queue them up as it would one of your friends. Our previous caller ID favorite, CallApp, is a little more flexible in this regard. It also could show things like hours of operation, directions, and a lot more. Current is decidedly narrower in its approach.

It does seem that Current Caller ID is rather good at doing what a caller ID app should, though - telling you who's calling. In one of our tests comparing CallApp and Current Caller ID, we received a call from a telemarketer using a well-known VoIP routing number as a masking technique.

Screenshot_2012-08-06-18-48-07 Screenshot_2012-08-06-18-49-27

Left: Current, right: CallApp

Current knew what was up, and labeled the caller as "Telemarketer." CallApp didn't. And when we're talking about caller ID, that's pretty much the #1 thing you're looking for: accurate identification of calls you don't want to take.

Another way Current shines is that it doesn't actually replace your stock dialer app's UI for incoming calls - it merely sits on top of it. You get a little floating window you can move up and down, and expand and collapse. While I can't say I'm in love with HTC's dialer on my One X, it's nice that the app doesn't need to take over the experience in order to work properly.

Screenshot_2012-08-07-10-50-01

FOREVER ALONE

You also get all sorts of call and texting stats with Current, showing you who you call and how often, etc. It's mostly a data visualization gimmick, but it's certainly cool to look at.

Screenshot_2012-08-06-18-39-50 Screenshot_2012-08-06-18-39-59 Screenshot_2012-08-06-18-44-41

There are some substantive issues I have with Current, though - mainly in terms of what it doesn't do. When a business calls you that's in White Pages' directory, for example, all you see is the business's name, number, and general location. With an absolute wealth of public information available on local businesses through Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google Maps, and other services, this feature feels a bit naked at the moment. Sure, the most important bit is there - the name - but our modern smartphones are capable of so much more than that.

Here's a use case - I call a restaurant and make a reservation after looking it up on Yelp. A week later, I'm discussing the restaurant with a friend, who then asks, "Oh, what's it called?", being forgetful as I am, I say "I don't remember, let me look it up." Opening up Current's call log, I can see the call when I made the reservation, and the name and address of the business. But if I want more information, I then have to open up a second app like Yelp and search for the business manually. With a piece of technology so amazing as a smartphone, it's my feeling that this is one step too many.

And while Current does apparently have the address of businesses in its directory, it doesn't show this information on the incoming call window. This would be another great feature - perhaps with a small map showing its exact location. And let's face it, screen real estate isn't exactly a concern during an incoming call, so I'd be fine with Current taking up an even larger chunk of display to provide more information. How about showing the last time I called the person currently calling me, or if I have a missed or recent call from them? That'd be useful. Oh, and Current doesn't pop up when you make an outgoing call. I admit the usefulness of such a feature is more limited, but I imagine it could be done easily enough.

Of course, features take time to implement, and when we're talking about a free app that does exactly what it says on the box (and pretty well), I don't want to get too far off on this tangent.

Basically, if you're looking for an accurate, well-designed caller ID app on the cheap (read: free), it'd be hard to do better than Current. It's not perfect (we still prefer CallApp, personally), but I'm struggling to think of a better basic caller ID solution out there right now. It's available on the Play Store, so go ahead and give it a try (it's technically an update to the old WhitePages app you may be seeing in the widget below, but in reality, this is a whole new app).

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Abhisshek Das

    Very Impressive Market rating "3.7" ;-)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      That's for the old app. The new one is much, much better.

      • fixxmyhead

        currently using true caller. have u tried it? i was thinking about using this one but kept hearing good things about true caller

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      You should have seen the old app - it was hideous. This new 4.0 version is night and day.

  • Scott

    I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the article.

  • btod

    Does this app id regular callers that aren't businesses and that I don't have in my address book? There are a lot of times I get a call from a number I don't recognize or don't have stored and would love to know who it is without answering the call first.

  • rjbastian1044

    Do you live in Bakersfield David?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Nope.

  • aSeven

    Do you know if this app takes your personal contact list and uploads it to their database like some other CID apps do? I understand why CID apps do this, but personally I do _not_ want to install an app that is going to do this without asking.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      We don't know for sure, but it doesn't look like it's doing it.

      • xnifex

        I'd like verification on this before I try the app. Guess I'll be emailing the dev. I just don't want them to upload any info from my phone to their servers.

  • lazyboy0172

    what is this "three months of data" business under 'more options'? With the ability to upgrade to twelve months?..nevermind, I clicked it. Apparently by default it remembers/displays info over a 3mo time frame (call/text history) but can extend to 1year for $1.99; not a subscription-based thing as I feared.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Correct. Just expands the period for which it remembers data, one time in-app upgrade.

  • DigitalDK

    THE UI! IT BURNS!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      What's wrong with the UI? It looks very clean and Holo.

  • Brfield

    I guess I'll try it out. The TrueCaller site was pretty accurate with everything but cell numbers.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffaandrews Jeff Andrews

    CallApp is still being supported and updated. They have a twitter account and a website.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Indeed, I already updated twice from their site, and the latest released fixed the problems I was having on the EVO LTE.

  • Jon Garrett

    all I want is a full screen caller ID app. one that works !!! and one that doesn't change my slid to answer UI images.

  • Tim

    CallApp works much better for me. One thing it is global so whenever I travel I find it useful, Current works only for the US and for most cases it is less accurate than CallApp (not all though) besides, you cannot compare the wealth of features in CallApp...
    I am with Artem - sticking to CallApp

  • Claus Madsen

    I can't find the CallApp on the Play Store. Any help?

  • http://twitter.com/ro1224 Robert Oliveira

    Problem I'm having with this app - for all its usefulness - is that if I decline an incoming call, the call goes to voicemail, but the vm notification is suppressed. I am therefore unaware of any voicemail until I manually check for messages. I rejected a call from my dentist tonight while in a meeting and later I found I had 2 voice messages.

    I haven't yet reported this to the developer, but I most likely will.

  • walid

    Thank you

  • Martin

    I use "Who Dat? Caller ID Lookup". I didnt like the bloat on Current Caller ID.