Swipe Through Your SMS With Sliding Messaging

Text messaging – or SMS – is one of the most fundamental functions on any mobile device. Over the last few years, it has arguably taken over voice calling as the single most used feature on a phone. Sure, there have been numerous threats from internet-based multimedia messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber, Line and more, but the sheer ubiquity of good ol’ SMS text messages has been hard to beat and has kept the technology alive and kicking.

Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of good dedicated options when it comes to SMS apps on Android. A few stalwarts like Handcent SMS and Go SMS Pro aside, competition has been pretty scarce in this arena. That’s why it’s exciting to see a new contender in Sliding Messaging. I took the app for a spin to check how it fared against Go SMS Pro – which is what I’ve been using for years now. Here’s what I found.


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A Holo Start

My first impression of the app was that it is the only SMS app – other than the stock Android one – that comes with the new Android Holo look. Everything is neat and clean with blue lines nicely accenting the white interface. There’s nothing jazzy here but just a plain, simple interface that quickly gets out of the way.

The default view in the app is your last conversation.

The default view in the app is your last conversation.

The other big difference from all other SMS apps is that the default view is not a list of conversations. Instead, it takes you directly to the last used conversation. This may seem weird at first, but it feels perfectly logical since you’re most likely to continue the last chat, so you can simply respond to the last message rather than start by opening the chat from the top of a list.

Sliding Everything

Swiping left from the middle of the screen on a conversation brings up the next conversation by chronology, letting you quickly slide through all your text chats quickly. Hence the name Sliding Messaging, I guess. Since I typically participate in a set of 3-4 conversations at any given time, this ability to quickly get to the meat of each conversation with a couple of slides makes a ton of sense.

Swiping from the sides gives you the list of conversations and the new message panel

Swiping from the sides gives you the list of conversations and the new message panel

Swiping in from the very left edge of the screen brings up the complete list of conversations so you can quickly get to an older thread. On the other hand, if you swipe in from the right edge, you can start composing a new message. Although this works fine on phones with bigger screens, it can easily get frustrating on smaller screens where you need to be precise with where you swipe from. When trying it on my wife’s Optimus One, I kept opening up the new message sidebar every time I tried to slide between conversations.

Hits and Some Misses

The app has very little in terms of bells and whistles. A Call button at the top of each conversation if you think text is just not cutting it. Tapping the avatar of a friend opens up a floating panel with their phone numbers, e-mail IDs, Google+ and WhatsApp info in a – you guessed it – set of sliding tabs so you can quickly get in touch with them in other ways. There are also a bunch of very basic themes in case you don’t like the white & blue look. If you want even more control, the $0.99 Sliding Messaging Theme Engine will let you fine tune the design as much as you want.

The tabbed info panel appears when you tap a contact's photo

The tabbed info panel appears when you tap a contact’s photo

On the downside, the app doesn’t always work as smoothly as it should. It can stutter on older devices, although recent updates have fixed the performance issues to an extent. There is also not much in terms of features, not even the ability to archive and categorize messages. Sure, this reduces bloat and keeps the app simple and fast, but some users may find it a bit lacking.

The expandable notification shade and new message pop-up

The expandable notification shade and new message pop-up

The notifications popup that lets you reply to a message from a floating window is great when it works, but it simply doesn’t if you have some other SMS apps already installed. I also love how the app uses expandable notifications to let you reply, mark as read or delete messages right from the notifications shade, but again getting it to work involves removing other SMS apps.

In Conclusion

There is a $0.99 Pro version of the app that brings some extra features to the table like picture and group messaging, custom background images for conversations and more. Personally I didn’t find anything I would use there, so I’m going to stick with the free version for now.

I’ve not yet made up my mind on whether Sliding Messaging is good enough for me to get rid of Go SMS Pro yet. I like the latter, but I have to admit I’ve been getting exceedingly irritated by how bloated it has become and its continuous nagging for me to pay for themes and other fluff. Sliding Messaging is clean, simple and does just a few things very well.


Summary

If you have been looking for a different take on text messaging with a simple, intuitive interface, Sliding Messaging is worth a try. It doesn't have a lot of the bells and whistles of other popular SMS apps, but makes up for it with a clean and snappy interface and focus on keeping you close to your conversations.

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  • Victor Nicastro

    I have yet to find a messaging app that compares to Go SMS. I like the idea of separate notification sounds for different people. And the customization is unsurpassed. If anyone can recommend a messaging app that can do what Go SMS does, let me know.

    • Nathan D

      You can set different notifications for different contacts in Chomp SMS as well. Chomp SMS uses a more Android-like UI, which (IMO) looks nicer than all but a few themes for GO SMS. To me, Go seems bloated and childish.

  • frank czap

    So far your basic app shows great promuse, however I simply will not purchase the Pro version or Theme engine without first having a chance to check them out. You should incorporate all into a Pro version with a limited tial period on Pro and theme enhancements. This gives a person an opportunity to check out features and compatibilty without having to purchase blindly.

  • frank czap

    Impossible to check out complete functionality of Pro version within 15 minutes. Between all the setup variables and mms testing you cannot trully decide whether this app is worth switching from a working app. Dev. refuses to allow full function access for a limited time unless purchased .Stay away!

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