October 21, 2014

Handcent SMS

Co-written by Kara Monroe

Handcent SMS is a free sms application available on the Android market. It’s ad supported and offers support for both SMS & MMS.  Handcent doesn’t apply any extra charges for using it, but your normal SMS and MMS charges will apply.

After successful install on a Droid and Nexus One, we were able to exchange messages with only a few problems to cell phone numbers. The first attempt to send a message on the Nexus One resulted in a Force Close.  After more extensive testing, there were a few other random ForceClose messages occurred on both Nexus One and Droid.

A few attempts to send messages, both SMS and MMS, to a Google Voice number failed.  These messages were never received either in the Handcent interface or the Google Voice interface even though Handcent offered reports for messages delivered successfully.

Handcent outshines the device-based text messaging in customization options.  The application looks polished. There are different styles (iphone, handcent, and android) for viewing the messages. In addition, the customization of notifications is much more detailed with Handcent over the notifications available on the device itself. You can customize different LED colors and different sounds/vibrate patters based on sender.

We liked the option to search content by keyword and a notification that a new SMS arrived.

Battery doesn’t seem to be a problem on either the Droid or Nexus One. When phone is “locked” Handcent brings up a message box that allows you to reply without unlocking the phone (no need to move the slider).  This was a nice feature, although the app on Droid froze the screen once and I couldn’t unlock the phone. In addition, there was one Force Close on the Nexus One phone for the undelivered messages, and the only thing I could do was kill it from the Advanced Task Killer.
In the end, our conclusion was that Handcent app does have some nice features (customizable notifications, notification message box over the slider, etc.) however at this time until the problems with the application are fixed, doesn’t warrant taking up space on our devices.