Alternative SMS apps - Weekend

Alternative SMS apps

By Meg Rivera


HOW many times a day do you receive a text? How many texts do you send out? There’s a reason why the Philippines is the texting capital of the world and has held that title for a while. Texting is the punk rock grandson of the telegram, short missives designed to get straight to the point. Brevity is currency here; why do you think so many arguments happen with the text “K”?

This week is for the Android kids. We will be looking at three alternative SMS apps designed to make the experience sweeter for everyone. Android phones come preset with an SMS app, unique to the phone’s brand. You can download any of these ones though and designate them as you preferred texting service. We can’t really avoid texting these days – so we might as well enjoy the experience while we’re at it.

Textra-iconAApp name: Textra

App developer: Delicious Inc.

Available on: Google Play

Easy to use: Just like most Android apps, you must be willing to go through a little trial and error. It’s got lot of wonderful features, but I would say the best one is being able to respond to a text while still being on your lock screen. In my world, this counts as a lot of time saved! The newest version comes ready for Lollipop, so you know this one keeps on top of the updates.

Overall comment: This app allows you to customize everything – from the Swiftkey keypad to the color of the light that blinks when you receive a new text. This is the app that I currently use, and I haven’t looked back on the native app on my phone since. This also allows you to black list certain contacts, handy against the stalker in your life. Five clicks out of five.

TextSecure-iconAApp name: Textsecure Private Messenger

App developer: Open Whisper Systems

Available on: Google Play

Easy to use: This one doesn’t count as an SMS app just yet, since it works as an encrypted instant messenger system. You can use this to set up groups without fear that your messages will be hacked into. This is also one of the few open source apps that allows you to tweak the code so you can fiddle with its security. For the top secret agent among us.

Overall comment: I still have yet to meet an SMS service that is encrypted. But with smart phones making it easier to connect to the internet, you can still text your friends using this one. It constantly assures us that even the Textsecure server has no access to the chats, which could be a good thing. However, if the Fappening has taught us one thing, we don’t trust our sensitive content to a device. This app just makes it a little bit more secure. Three clicks out of five.

Evolve-SMS-iconAApp name: Evolve SMS

App developer: Kinker Apps

Available on: Google Play

Easy to use: This is a regular SMS app that becomes phenomenal with the add-on MightyText. MightyText allows the app to push new messages and updates onto your desktop. No more digging through your pocket or handbag! Evolve on its own is a beautifully designed app that hums minimalist and sleek at the same time.

Overall comment: The downside here is that you actually have to shell out real money to get the customization pack. On its own, the app doesn’t look awful. You just need to be willing to put up with orange and white if you aren’t okay with paying. It looks very Google-ish, so if you’re seeking a completely Apple-free experience, this is the one for you. Three clicks out of five.

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