Text Messaging is Overrated...?
June 28, 2013 12:53 PM   Subscribe

I can't find a text messaging app that does everything I want, so I use multiple apps and confuse my friends with multiple phone numbers. Is there a better way?

My ideal text messaging app would:

1) Have a great keyboard with a quick response time, and accurate auto-correct (ala iPhone or possibly A.I.type Keyboard)
2) Be able to send/receive group texts and emojis - in other words, my texts would look and work seamlessly with friends who have iPhones even if i don't have an iPhone or use iMessage. (possible on Android through GO SMS Pro?)
3) Be able to text from my desktop or laptop computer, preferably whether or not my phone is on (ala google voice, or MightyText if phone is on)
4) Be able to send images/mms (unlike google voice)
5) Have an easy automatic searchable backup system (ala google voice)
6) Feed the cats (ok, just kidding...)

It seems that this is a lot to ask for in a texting app, but maybe there is something I am missing? Maybe there are more hacks and programs to get these things to work seamlessly? Some sort of Google Voice + iTim + GO SMS Pro ultimate combination? Maybe there is some amazing program coming out that I just need to wait for/write? Maybe I can take a time machine to an era when texting wasn't/won't be popular and I will no longer care?


My current protocol: Generally I do most of my texting through Google Voice (on my phone or computer), but I miss out on group texts and I can't send or receive pictures. If my friends want to send me a pic, they can either message my carrier-provided phone number, or email it to me. I also set my phone up with MightyText, so I can make sure to get those texts on my desktop as well - although I believe MightyText deletes texts after a certain period of time, so it doesn't function as a searchable text backup program (though maybe there is a hack.) In other words, I have prioritized #3 and #5, have mediocre workarounds for #4, and have gone without #1 and #2. In order of priority, I'd probably list them as: 5, 1, 3, 4, 2

Current phone: Circumstances led me to try an iPhone 5 this week (in part because texting on my old Android was sub-par, esp the keyboard/typing response time/auto-correct), but I typically use an Android and I think I'll be exchanging the iPhone for a Samsung Galaxy S3 or similar and just make sure I have a good keyboard app. The iPhone is actually lovely in some ways, but I don't love the screen dimensions or video quality, and with all my text messaging desires and dedication to Google Voice, Android seems like the obvious choice. However, I have an open mind and no strong brand loyalty, so I would be open to hearing about how texting could be optimized for both Android and iPhone (jailbroken or not).

Current provider: Sprint (and I think they have some fancy way to be able to use your google voice number with their regular messaging system but I haven't tried this so I don't know if it offers MMS support.) I am pretty unlikely to change to a different carrier.


Bottom Line: Is there a way that I can get #1-5 to work seamlessly with one phone number and minimal confusion, and if not, how can I get the maximum number of these to work?
posted by emoemu to Technology (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You could send a text that says "did you get my email?"

Email is the ultimate anti-authority.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:17 PM on June 28, 2013

Yes, Sprint has Google Voice integration. Your Google Voice number *is* your Sprint number, your voicemail is Google Voice, texts you send and receive through Google Voice have your Sprint number on them, texts you send and receive from your phone appear in Google Voice (although not MMS, I don't think). You can then choose whatever texting app you like on the phone, stock Messaging app or Google Voice or Go SMS. Since you're on Sprint already, it sounds like this will give you exactly what you want.
posted by kindall at 1:47 PM on June 28, 2013

I don't know about your texting issues, but I have been using
for almost a year and I like it a lot. It figured me out pretty fast and the predictive text and autocorrect seem as good or better than others I've tried.
posted by upatree at 2:36 PM on June 28, 2013

DeskSMS with Handcent (with emoji keyboard) on an Android phone using SwiftKey sounds like it does most of that. Handcent has some online services (that I've never used) that seem to cover the weak spots.
posted by kcm at 3:35 PM on June 28, 2013

I'm sorry for asking an obvious question, but is there any reason you or your friends haven't started to use Whatsapp or Viber? Both apps are cross-platform and enable group messages, though I don't think Whatsapp can be used natively on desktop yet.

In any case, I'm on the Nexus 4 now, and the Android keyboard comes with a built-in Swype feature that can be enabled, and in combination with the autosuggest features makes typing breezy and error-free.
posted by cendawanita at 6:36 PM on June 28, 2013

Have you heard of Kakao Talk? It's wildly popular in Korea and is getting used more in the US. Pretty sure this one ticks all your boxes but #1.
posted by charlemangy at 6:51 PM on June 28, 2013

I use this app, which is both an SMS app and a MMS app and works with Google Voice as well.

I also use Ninja SMS because I like the interface.

I use Air Droid for online texting.
posted by dobbs at 10:32 PM on June 28, 2013

Try WhatsApp. Hands-down the best.
posted by mrsh at 1:28 AM on June 29, 2013

All my friends were using Kakao Talk, so I've been converted. It's a nice little app, for the little texting I do.
posted by kathrynm at 3:31 AM on June 29, 2013

I use Handcent for my messaging app, which includes emojis and group messaging. I use SwiftKey for my keyboard; have done so for three years and have found it to be the best KB app for me, bar none. All of my texts (SMS and MMS) get backed up seamlessly in the background to my Gmail account using a fantastic, free little app called SMS Backup+, available in the Google Play store here:

(You can set up the backup frequency to your personal preference and the newest version includes integration with Whatsapp; if you decide to go that route, you could still use this for backing up.)

I can't offer suggestions for a desktop texting app, but the above setup on my phone has worked well for me for years.

I too am on Sprint, and use Google Voice. My Sprint number *is* my GV number; it was quick and painless to integrate/associate the two.
posted by younggreenanne at 8:09 AM on June 29, 2013

I use Chomp SMS and Swiftkey with Emoji on the phone, and mighty text for desktop. Works well for me (Samsung Note 2 user).
posted by shazzam! at 9:08 AM on June 29, 2013

I too use whatsapp- I used to use google voice to text, but now I've managed to switch friends to whatsapp and we haven't looked back!
posted by Bibliogeek at 1:46 AM on June 30, 2013

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