Despite the rise of instant messaging as the default messaging option for most of us, Android users are still rocking old skool SMS on our smartphones, whether it’s the stock Android app, Hangouts or another third party app. But the standard messaging process is pretty clunky, so here are three apps that can seriously enhance the functionality of SMS on your Android.
The first comes to us from the genius developers at XDA. It’s a full screen, resizable widget for Hangouts, Google's new default messaging app in Android 4.4 KitKat, and it makes “your Hangouts communication as fast and easy as it should have been from the beginning.” It’s a brilliant little extension that simply takes your Hangouts messages and allows you to place them on any home or lock screen. You can resize the widget to your liking and create messages direct from the widget too. It’s clean, it’s simple, it works. You can download the original APK and a dark, clear version from the XDA thread. Of course, you need to have Hangouts installed on your phone if you don't already.
The second app in our little trio is called SlideOver Messaging and is part of a larger project called Sliding Messaging Pro. The free app is a great little movable, ever-present “bubble” that connects to your default SMS app and comes to life whenever you get a message, no matter what you’re doing. Your contact’s profile picture will appear in the bubble and you can respond directly from whichever app you might be in at the time the message appears. You can also quickly and easily access your last three messages in a floating profile pic window that will appear above the message text. Again: clean, simple, wonderful.
Rounding out our trifecta is an LED notification customization app called Light Manager. With Light Manager, you can set different colors and blink rates for just about anything your phone does, whether it’s receiving an SMS, new social media message, twitter update, missed call, email, calendar reminder, charging – whatever. The best part is that by customizing everything with LED notifications you don’t even need to turn your phone’s screen on to know if you actually need to. It’s an absolute blessing for your battery and should see you doing much less unnecessary “phone checking” in future.
What are your favorite apps to improve text messaging on your phone? Any other great apps or tips you can share with us?