SMS Messaging with Android on the G1

It seems like there are a ton of SMS apps on the Android Marketplace, but can they all be great? I thought I would share what is working well for me and maybe that will help a small percentage of Android and G1 users find something that works for them as well.

DISCLAIMER: To be honest, I’ve had a very limited exposure to all the SMS apps in the Marketplace. I usually try to test a few and then once I find one that works well, I stick with it. If the developer of that app continues to add interesting features and fix issues then the barrier for me to switch apps gets to be higher. Trying new apps that do the same thing as the one I have become accustomed to is really not my thing. So if you are looking for a review of all the SMS apps on the Marketplace, try AndroidGuys, AndroidApps or just Google sms+android+app+review.

SMS Messaging

Chomp SMS

I am probably what would be classified as a low volume SMS user. Most of my contact with friends and colleagues is, in order of use, via e-mail, IM and Twitter. SMS comes up fourth because I mainly use it to very quickly communicate with friends when I am not at the computer or they are not at the computer. So the apps I selected and now use daily are based on my own selection criteria. Yours may be different and thus these apps may not suffice. To each their own.

First off, the built in SMS app is OK but definitely not great. There were a number of bells and whistles missing and it takes two Marketplace apps to compensate for these shortcomings.

Chomp SMS adds a very cool interface that allows you to see your SMS conversations as word bubbles. It also adds an on-screen keyboard,  a highly sought after feature for sending off quick messages without needing to open the keyboard. Finally, you can text multiple recipients from a single message. For those of you that don’t have root access to the G1, thus no auto-rotate, Chomp SMS also has a auto-rotate option. There is a video review of the Chomp SMS app on Youtube for anyone interested.

SMS Alerting

SMS Popup

To make SMS on the G1 even more convient, wouldn’t it be great if the messages popped up on the screen as they came in making it easy to read them? It would be even better if the messages displyed even when the screen was locked so that you didn’t have to unlock the phone just to read SMS messages. Add to that being able to set a different LED color for SMS messages and you have almost a complete SMS alerting app.

That is where SMS Popup comes in. In addition to all of these features mentioned above you can also set the notification to vibrate and set reminders of unread messages. There is a video review of this app for those interested.

I’ve run with both of these apps for a few weeks and not had any issues with crashes or usability. You’ll notice that in order to get the close to perfect SMS experience you need both apps, but that is a small price to pay primarily because they are both FREE

That rounds up my SMS review for the G1 and Android Marketplace. There are a lot of other SMS apps on the market and I am sure they all have their benefits. If any of the apps mentioned above start to falter, I’ll be shopping for something new so let me know which ones are comparable or better in your opinon.

5 thoughts on “SMS Messaging with Android on the G1

  1. The only thing I think the default sms for Android needs is an integrated save feature (save audio, video and images>. there is an app on the marketplace that allows you to do this, so I guess that’s okay. Beyond that I think the sms is perfect.

    I’d like to just add my thoughts on your selections, in the interest of open discourse.

    a soft keyboard would be great but I was never a fan of the speech bubbles. I love the threaded sms convos, an speech bubbles are too cartoon-y for me. but it’s a complete preference thing and options are a good thing.

    I would absolutely *not* want personal messages popping up on screen, particularly when the phone is locked. Privacy is a big issue these days, and it’s something a person must be proactive about (ie, we shouldn’t assume the technology will automatically keep us safe). I don’t prefer to allow anyone who can simply look down at my screen to have that kind of open access to my private messages.

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    1. I think you are right regarding the privacy issue with SMS messages being displayed openly on your phone. SMS Popup has the feature to display the message after you unlock the screen which seems to work best in your scenario. I haven’t felt the need to do that yet, but its nice to know the option is there.

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  2. First of all, I agree with Bill’s comments.

    In the Android RC33, you can save the MMS messages, afaik. I’m personally not a big fan of MMS, but I was able to save/email a few photos sent to me over MMS.

    After I got my G1, and started using the text (sms) messaging, and I noticed that the Messaging application was getting clogged,slow and taking up much space. That’s been a big complaint by G1 users for a good while. And there were message threads that I wanted to keep elsewhere other than my phone. Hence, I developed Txtract, an SMS backup/export application, which can store your SMS in a more accesible medium – microSD card. Or you can email the output to any of your email addresses.

    I personally believe, it’s a good value added application to the G1’s SMS realm. Usually, we -the developers- do not use the stuff we develop, however I’m a pretty dedicated user of the application I developed.

    Last but not the least, imho, Android platform is destined for greater greatness.

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    1. My SMS message volume is so low right now that I haven’t run into the issue you mentioned. Thanks for the heads up on your app in case my message volume increases.

      100% agree with your last statement about the G1.

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  3. SMS on G1 becomes addictive pretty quickly. I hated the whole txt’ing thing with my old phone. G1 makes it actually fun. :) If you find yourself looking at 200 message threads with your buddies, don’t be surprised .

    Nissan had this awesome motto in their commercials “everything you need, nothing you don’t” . I’ve been a good follower of the idea, so I try to stick with the core-basics as much as I can. Bubles or popup SMS don’t mean much to me, since I’m perfectly happy with the regular notification. On the other hand, I hear really good reviews about chomp and sms popup.

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