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Remember that neat Twitter client from earlier today called Talon? Well, the developers have also released a new SMS app called EvolveSMS with a lot of the same UI flair. EvolveSMS takes advantage of translucent system elements on KitKat and borrows some extra pieces from Google's design language to create something very cool.

Klinker Apps previously created a popular SMS client known as Sliding Messaging. EvolveSMS is essentially a spruced up version of that app with improved features. It utilizes a blurred profile image effect in the header of each conversation, a look that developer Jacob Klinker says was inspired by the last big Google Wallet update. When KitKat was announced with transparent navigation and status bars, Klinker thought that went along well with the in-process UI. Some people (myself included) have expressed concern about the way the status bar hides in Talon. The approach in EvolveSMS seems more consistent, at least based on my initial impression.

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EvolveSMS does all the usual SMS stuff for free (plus widgets!), but there are a few in-app purchases in the settings to add additional features. The $0.99 customization pack includes themes, night mode, and contact avatar tools. The feature pack is a bit more expensive at $1.49, but it adds Dropbox backups, expanded MMS functionality, scheduled messaging, and more. This app needs to be set as your default SMS client if you've been using Hangouts on KitKat, and it might be pretty and feature-packed enough to convince some people to do just that.

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[+Jacob Klinker 1, 2]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • 16Bitz0r

    Interesting... I wonder if it's better than Textra, which is my current SMS app.

    • corrndog

      That's my current SMS app too...and I was just wondering the same thing. Textra's pretty full-featured, including .gifs which are fun. Always open though and even willing to pay if the features and quality are there. What keyboard are you using?

      • 16Bitz0r


      • halkun

        I'm on galaxy s4 but I prefer google's keyboard as I am more fan towards the stock android.

    • Matt

      I was using Textra too, but I just installed this and so far like it better. The main reason I went with Textra over Hangouts was the ability to do quick replies (from the popup), but I don't really like Textra's UI. So far, I like Evolve's UI better than Textra, and as good as Hangouts, but they also have the option for the quick reply.

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    It'd be nice if this was a free update to Sliding Messaging, but I guess it has enough differences to warrant a different app...kinda.

  • oesjmr

    I think I'll give it a try!

  • Nexus_FrEak

    Waiting for Google to make more use of their own API's :/

    • http://dabuxian.com/ Dabu

      Yeah, it's ridiculous how like nobody uses it except pushbullet, quickpic and some new niche apps like this. When iOS 7 came out every big app instantly started to use coloured top bar. Why Google can't do the same?

      • http://adumont.serveblog.net/ Alexandre Dumont

        So true.

      • Steve Secor

        Unfortunately, it probably has something to do with 1.4% of devices are running KitKat. Devs don't care.


        • Aaron Berlin

          Apple also gives devs something like six months with the beta and development kit. Google just drops new version of Android on everybody at the same time. Let's see where we are by the summer.

          • Crispin Swickard

            Probably not were we would like to be considering in house apps. Look at Google Voice...

          • Robert Alex Kibler

            I'm still holding on to the hope that Google Voice just gets integrated into Hangouts which would explain why it's so awful. At least, i hope so, since they're killing XMPP integration, so third party apps like GrooveIP are going away, and that'll put a dent in my T-mobile plan with only 100 minutes.

          • Crispin Swickard

            I really only use it for the voice mail aspect, and I can't imagine them folding that into hangouts.. The messaging portion would be good since they want all the messaging in one place, and i would agree with that. I just can't see them moving the voice mail feature, and it will probably be abandoned.

        • SimonPieman

          Wern't people saying that about Jellybean 10 months ago. All of a sudden, Jellybean powers the majority of Android devices....

          When will people learn?

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            Because it's been 1.5 years before Jelly Bean was statistically installed on more than 50% of devices, and don't forget that not all of thrm are running 4.3, most are stuck on 4.1 and 4.2

      • squiddy20

        As I understand it (and I could be wrong), there's a group responsible for Google's apps (which might be separated further into a group for each app), and then there's a group for the core OS development, UI, etc. This would explain why there are several different UI elements in many of Google's apps, and the disparity between Google's overall Android design and the apps.

      • meelyg

        the way facebook top menu on IOS collapses into status bar is awesome

        android apps need this

  • Ruperto17

    Just gorgeous

  • http://twitter.com/Rodrigost23 Rodrigo Tavares

    Or not, you know... I don't.

  • remister

    I am waiting for those attach options for Hangouts, why can't I only attach a picture at this moment?

    • Paul_Werner

      Photo, video, and location but yeah it can use more options

      • deadpenguins

        Idk about you, but I sure as heck can't attach a video in hangouts... It's one of my biggest gripes with the app.

        • Paul_Werner

          It works but you have to be in an SMS conversation and start the video from Hangouts. If you are in an IM convo or start the video from an app and go to the share menu the option isn't there

  • SilverCore

    If Googe do the same in Google Play apps *_*

  • jamaall

    Like the concept, but it seems like its not ready for prime time. On Droid MAXX with 4.4, it force closes often and freezes, plus the slide out menu is hard to pull out. But I'll keep the app and try it again with further updates. Looks promising.

  • Martin

    This is all Google needs to do with hangouts.. :)

    • Paul_Werner

      That and bring calling over data. I'm still hoping for that on my $30 T-Mobile plan. Not that I need it because I barely talk on the phone (and why I chose this plan) but it'd be nice to have another option that doesn't use minutes

  • Nate

    For those of you who don't know why this is a separate app, take a look here: https://plus.google.com/+JacobKlinker/posts/DjDTfGA8hSy

    He explains why.

  • alamarco

    What I really like is that this developer is following the guidelines. The apps being created really flow with the Android experience and I hope more developers follow suite.

    Personally I'm fine with Hangouts and I use Falcon Pro, but I bought Talon and will give EvolveSMS a try. While I may not use either app, I don't mind supporting a developer who works hard like this.

    • Roger Siegenthaler

      I actually really enjoy developers that twist the guidelines to make them more useful, like this guy has done^^ using the hamburger menu not as a navigation feature per say but repurposing it to be the most important thing in the app... much like the timely alarm clock did by using the swipe from left to set an alarm. It isn't strictly the guidelines but it's exactly where you'd expect to find the single most important thing within an app :).

  • xnifex

    I currently use 8ms but after watching the video I'll definitely give this a try.

    • Brendan

      In the MMS settings it looks as if you can change the MMS size.

      • xnifex

        you can change the size, but if it's sending out the wrong user agent then your phone might not download a big version anyway. I tested between this & 8ms & this one wouldn't receive a picture higher than 360x480.

  • MikeJwF

    This is a gorgeous and feature rich app. But one feature that I really value from Textra is the setting that allows it to temporarily activate mobile data to receive or send and MMS.

  • Peacen1k

    This looks nice but their Sliding Messenger was so buggy and laggy that this new thing just doesn't excite. I'm through being a perpetual beta tester.

    • Melvin

      After testing I can confirm the EvolveSMS is also laggy. Annoyingly so.

    • Sycobob

      Same here. I was really excited for a new, clean SMS app, which I thought Sliding Messaging was going to be. I bought the pro version almost as soon as it launched. I tried to make it my default SMS app half a dozen times through it's development, but it was always ludicrously slow. In fact, it got even slower over time. Anything that makes a top-end (at the time) device just chug on text messages is just poorly done.

      I feel like I wasted my money the first time. I'm not terribly interested in trying the next iteration.

  • Jonathan James

    Great app... but... HUGE mistake that they don't have message history when you type in the contacts name to send a text.... Message history is a must have for any text messaging app... the recent texts menu is not enough when you get a lot of text messages that you are dealing with.

  • shenaz

    how can i buy the add on