Most veteran users of Android have probably run Handcent SMS at least once over the years. It's still a very popular third-party SMS app, but the design hasn't exactly kept up with the times. Today's update doesn't solve all its ills, but v6.0 does look worlds better than the old version.
Update: Well that didn't take long. Here's what T-Mobile had to say in response.
We have seen the complaint filed today by the FTC and find it to be unfounded and without merit. In fact T-Mobile stopped billing for these Premium SMS services last year and launched a proactive program to provide full refunds for any customer that feels that they were charged for something they did not want. T-Mobile is fighting harder than any of the carriers to change the way the wireless industry operates and we are disappointed that the FTC has chosen to file this action against the most pro-consumer company in the industry rather than the real bad actors.
Google began its transition to Hangouts as a universal messaging platform a little over a year ago, but true SMS integration didn't arrive until much more recently. To encourage use of Hangouts, the company offered forwarding of Hangouts messages via SMS in select countries, but now that's going away as of tomorrow.
In some emergency situations it might not be practical or possible to make a voice call to 911, but starting today, you might have another option. It took a bit of wrangling with wireless carriers, but the FCC's deadline for having the necessary wireless infrastructure in place is today. That doesn't mean everyone will be able to text 911 yet, but the pieces are in place.
There should be no doubt, Google is getting ready to make a lot of announcements at I/O. If we've learned anything from past experiences, Google starts packing its apps full of surprises in the weeks leading up to the big show. The latest update to Play Services started rolling out yesterday and it has grown by a whopping 4 MB, almost 30% larger than the previous version. There's obviously a lot of stuff to look at, so let's just jump right in.
Over the past several years, text messaging has become an important tool for families, friends, and co-workers to stay in contact quickly and easily. More recently, it has also become a clutch way for people to communicate and collaborate on the job, oftentimes with group messages becoming a sort of on-the-go whiteboard for tossing around ideas or simply setting up meetings.
Today, Autodesk is throwing its hat into the group messaging arena with its new app Autodesk Instant.
Facebook's $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp was certainly yesterday's biggest story when it came to web and social news. But according to Amir Efrati of The Information, there's an interesting backstory that didn't make it into the financial pages. He reports that six months ago, Google offered to pay WhatsApp to notify the larger company if they received an acquisition offer from anyone else. While an exact amount hasn't been disclosed, the deal was reportedly worth "millions of dollars."
The Information's anonymous sources say that WhatsApp declined the offer - surely a hard pill to swallow for a startup company, even one with the fantastic number of users that WhatsApp boasts.
Rakuten is often referred to by western media as "the Amazon of Japan." That description seems more and more apt given some of the mega-retailer's recent purchases, including Canadian e-reader company Kobo. Yesterday Rakuten announced that it had purchased Viber, an up-and coming voice-over-IP company with apps on Android, iOS, and Windows, among others, for a whopping $900 million.
Viber is primarily a Skype competitor, though it also offers text and picture messaging, group chat, and cross-communication between mobile and desktop operating systems.