With the release of Android 4.4 KitKat on the Nexus 5, Google introduced an update to the Hangouts app with support for SMS, and later pushed out the update to Play Store for everyone. What I personally like best about the interface of Hangouts is the ability to quickly switch between the conversation list and the currently open conversation itself using a simple gesture. If you don’t want to switch to Hangouts for your SMS and MMS needs, but would like to have a similar interface in your messaging app, try EvolveSMS. In addition to a Hangouts-like interface, the free app also boasts some customization options, along with a theming support and a bunch of more powerful features unlockable via in-app purchases. Join us as we take a closer look at this new messaging app for Android.
Upon launch, the first thing you’ll notice is the fluid UI of the app that shows you a list of all your SMS threads using the navigation drawer that you can swipe in from the left edge, or by tapping the top-left button. The conversation view itself uses contact header pictures from the connected social media services such as Facebook and Google+. You can easily send images, GIFs, audios, videos, contact cards and your current location from the attachment menu, while the overflow menu lets you archive a conversation, insert a message from a preconfigured template, and access the app’s settings.
Tapping the New Message button from the top toolbar in the conversations view lets you start composing a new text, and you can add multiple recipients, add a subject, and insert a message from a template. EvolveSMS also comes with a widget that you can add to your home or lock screen to quickly access your messages in a scrollable view, as well as quickly start composing a new message.
When it comes to the app’s settings, the interface is again built with a navigation drawer that lets you access the different sections for settings related to themes, notifications, MMS, security, and some advanced options. You can also simply slide horizontally to navigate between these sections.
The app offers two in-app purchases – the customization pack, and the feature pack. The former adds the ability to visually tweak the app by applying various themes available on Play Store, while the latter unlocks several features such as the ability to send location, GIFs and contacts via MMS, backup your messages to Dropbox, create templates, make your inbox private, schedule messages, and more.
While the app remains rather barebones without any of these purchases, it still offers a decent UI and some handy features for free, though its true potential gets unlocked with the paid packs. You can grab the app via the link provided below.