Your phone probably comes with two options for SMS—Hangouts and whatever app the OEM designed. Neither of these are necessarily great options, but there are alternatives. And there's one more alternative today with AwSMS reaching the public beta phase.

Here's the changelog for the big v1.0 update.

  • Added new Bubble shapes
  • Added Navigation Drawer
  • Added Sending Animations
  • Improved MMS and SMS stability
  • Default Quick Reply now uses the Heads up quick reply
  • Lots of Bug Fixes

AwSMS looks a bit like the Google Messenger app, but there are a ton of options and some neat extras. The new navigation drawer has quick access to some of them like snoozing notifications and night mode. Probably the most notable feature of AwSMS is the enhanced heads-up notification. You can pull down to get a quick reply field so you don't have to open the app.

The app has been in alpha for a few months and has been well received. You can give it a shot for free, but some features like notification swipe actions and text bubble colors require a pro upgrade. That's only $0.99, though.

Developer: GHerrm
Price: Free+