Longtime Google Voice users have had but one dream, total integration with the operating system. We've seen a few bits and pieces roll out from time to time, like support for automatic calling through your Google Voice number and having voicemail directly accessible in the stock dialer. But one feature continues to evade us: sending and receiving SMS messages through Voice with 3rd-party apps. CyanogenMod and Koushik Dutta (Koush) have officially broken that barrier with Voice Plus.
There are many VoIP clients out there for Android, such as Skype and Viber. They save users from having to place calls over their cell network, potentially using up minutes that they may not have. This behavior eats into carriers' profits, so it's no surprise that they'd prefer if we avoided putting these apps on our phones. It's more surprising, though, to hear that one carrier has chosen to make one of these apps themselves.
One issue that has plagued many Google Voice users since the dawn of time (or at least since GV became a thing) is how not good the app itself is. Those who use GV as their primary phone number are stuck using the app for things like sending/receiving SMS messages, and up until now, there was absolutely no alternative.
Today, however, Koush Dutta has announced Google Voice SMS integration in CM10.1 with not only the stock messaging app, but also any third party application you may use (GoSMS, Handcent, etc.).
I don't have kids, so it's entirely possible I don't "get it." By "it" I mean this freaky robot teddy bear that sends and receives text messages because 2005 still had one more horror movie on its to-do list that it forgot to tell us about. That's what MessagePetz are. They're teddy bears that have a cold, black screen with bright blue LEDs shoved into their torsos.
Of course, maybe I'm being too hard on this thing.
Readers probably don't need to be reminded that each month, we distill all of the Play Store's latest entries into a selection of the very best apps of the previous month, hand-picking a shortlist to save you both time and money in testing everything out. This month, though, there were just too many worthy apps to cut down to the usual five, so we've got a slightly-less-short list of the best six apps from April 2013.
For the unfamiliar, Ashley Madison is a dating site that enables couples in monogamous relationships to find partners for illicit affairs. That's the baseline we're starting from. The company's new app, however, takes this concept one step further by providing users with disposable phone numbers that can be used for calling and texting without your spouse finding out.
The BlackBook app doesn't include access to the social network itself, so it's purely used for correspondence.
Google Voice is a great service for replacing your carrier's voicemail and texting options. If you need something that's a bit more robust, however, SendHub has launched on Android and allows business-class users to set up a phone number (or set of numbers) and get texting and calling for free or cheap, depending on what class of service you need.
Free users can get 60 voice minutes, 500 messages, and 3 groups of 50 contacts for their first line.
Talkray, from the makers of the incredibly popular touch-talk app TiKL, is an ambitious app – it looks to be your one-stop shop for mobile communication on the go, communicating through text, pictures, videos, and voice all for free. Until now, though, the app has had a fatal flaw – its design. While not the worst design we've seen, Talkray had, shall we say, unfortunate looks. Inconsistent styles, gradients mixed with flat elements, and Gingerbread-style tabs abound.