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EvolveSMS is the Third-Party SMS App You’ve Been Waiting For

There’s no doubt about it, the Messaging app on Android isn’t great. Though Google’s integrative vision of Hangouts may make the app’s lack of functionality a moot point, the company has a long way to go before SMS is as manipulable and beautiful as it is on some third-party applications. A great example?  EvolveSMS, the successor to Sliding Messaging.

From an interface perspective, EvolveSMS is exactly what you’d expect from the creators of Talon: nearly flawless. Using Android 4.4 KitKat’s transparent nav bar feature to great effect, the UI evokes Google apps in its tasteful use of sliding drawer, Gaussian blur, and animation. 

Functionality-wise, the app is pretty limited without the purchase of either a $0.99 customization pack or $1.49 feature pack, but I’d argue it’s still more pleasant to use than Messaging. The customization pack comes with themes, contact photo tools, and night mode, while the feature pack includes Dropbox backups and scheduled messaging among other features.

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  • Kyle

    I have the same problem with this as I did with Sliding Messaging, it is slow to get through the menus, and starting up and what not. I archived my sms, and it is still slow..

  • Sjkottke

    Anyone else have problems with this program converting voice mail into SMS? Basically having the content of the voice-mail disappear?

  • chjapa

    Looks nice, I’ll give it a shot.

  • AT

    I’m a big fan of Handcent….been using it for about 2 years. Fast and has many features that can be adjusted.

  • FknTwizted

    I feel simple is best, i mean its freaking a sms program don’t really see the relevance to having a “pretty” ui, you are just texting no real need for visual. but to each their own i guess.

  • Nick

    DISA.im … Is the way to go… every update is awesome and it’s only in the Alpha testing state still. Unification messaging is probably going to end up being the future since it saves battery by only running one service instead of all the apps services separately. I’d give that a try. Or at least wait until it gets into the beta stage.

    If you want to add messaging services check the google+ community for unofficial plugins made. I think those guys are working on a facebook messenger plugin now too.

  • Jake Lefkowitz

    Tried it on my nexus 5, but the application was slow and buggy, perhaps after a few more releases they will straighten things out.

  • Morris

    Sorry but I’m not going to use or buy an app where the devs basically abandon a paid app and will likely do it to this one after they decide they need to start over. Textra here I come.

  • Ryan Lounsbury

    I like the app and have it set as my default SMS client for the moment. My biggest gripe for now is when I access a message from my Moto X’s active notifications or launch it from my phone it has a pretty decent lag before it actually opens up. Somewhat minor quip but when I fire up the default Android SMS client it loads quickly. This one has to think about it.

  • KenBarnum

    I tried Textra on my Nexus 5 because I read this article, the play store reviews, and the comments here…
    I love Textra and I can’t believe Google released the Nexus 5 with ONLY the terrible Hangouts as the texting app.

    • Ilya

      I also love Textra. It’s magnificent.

  • Brian Farnham

    it doesn’t work with MMS for me on my gs4 and keeps notifying me about messages i already read

  • Granpa0

    Nice. I installed this and now I can’t send or receive messages. I uninstalled and still can’t send or receive messages. Just lovely.

  • George264

    I love the app but the logo is terrible, it hurts. The Sliding Messaging logo was fine. This looks out of place with the modern design.

  • Intellectua1

    I like it so far.. Replaced Hangouts with it for a couple days now..

  • oneinternet

    Dropbox backups, just in case the NSA didn’t get your messages the first time! Textsecure people!

  • Ray

    I’m still using the AOSP sms app from 4.3 (I think), which has group messaging implemented, quick reply, etc. Looks identically to what was the stock Android sms app but with a few extra goodies. Does the job perfectly for me and works without an issue.

  • d1ckdame

    Man! Installed it on my nexii 4 and immediately fell in love with it. And then I noticed it was slowing my phone down, crashing, couldn’t send mms, and it felt like it was in beta. Back to gosms.

  • DJyoSNOW

    I’m liking hello sms

  • dannyWHITE

  • @1MPitts

    Something with the design of Evolve with the performance of Textra is what I’m waiting for. For now I’ll settle for performance.

  • Morris

    I’m very confused. I bought Sliding Messaging and am using it. What’s the difference between that and this and are they abandoning Sliding Messaging then?

    • capecodty

      I’m worried about this too. Sliding messaging works great, even with google voice. At least they still seem to be updating it for now.

  • Megamaster2

    If any of these third party apps worked with Mighty Text, I’d use them. But neither this, nor Textra do and I like mightytext a lot 🙁

  • John Clausen

    Yeah, it looks beautiful, and I want to use it, but it is broken as hell for me. Glitches up the wazoo

    • Grayson Carr

      Hate to say it, but this developer is known for promising looking apps with bugs and glitches. Their older Sliding Messaging app always had little issues. People always assumed they would be fixed in time, but as some problems were fixed, more features were added and more bugs and glitches as well. It was never really perfected.

  • Aaron

    It’s not the third party SMS app I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been waiting for one that integrates and syncs with my computer, so I can send messages from my computer. I currently need two apps to accomplish this (MightyText and chomp), and quite frankly, their performance is unreliable.

    • CapnShiner

      You only need one app to accomplish that: Google Voice.

      • Aaron

        Yeah, Voice would be great if Google hadn’t left it on the side of the road to die. It’s missing some key features, and the interface hasn’t changed in years. It will probably get merged into Hangouts in some way.

        • CapnShiner

          I never said it was perfect, just that it does what you said you want. Google already said it will be integrated into Hangouts but they are still working on it.

    • Rafi


    • Trevor Hawk

      Have you tried mysms? It seems to the best so far.

    • scastro87

      Verizon Messages!

  • HoosierDaddy

    I seriously doubt this is better than Disa?

  • Al Werner

    Actually if you are on Verizon, Verizon Messenger is decent.

  • AndrewScottRox

    So wait a second…these guys make Sliding Text Messaging and charge for premium features then create another SMS app and charge for premium features? WTF?

    • Scott Kart

      Pretty scummy if you ask me.

    • Brian Walker

      I thought the same thing. Why not just update Sliding Messaging?

      • MeMe

        When you don’t know why, it’s always about the money…

      • Brandon Golway

        If you read the article it said that they were in too deep with some of the things that they wanted to do so it was just easier to start over.

    • Hothfox

      The thing that has annoyed me most about the devs so far is that the Talon page is filled with feature requests or things people aren’t liking, and the dev’s answer to quite a few things is, “I like it the way it is, so I’m not changing it.” That’s great, but you (theoretically) didn’t make the app for you.

      • Brian Walker

        That’s been my experience with them as well…

        • Hothfox

          To be fair, I wrote that comment before the guy put out a decent update giving us some better notifications controls, so I can’t say he doesn’t listen to anything the users want.

        • AnotherAndroidKid

          And yet they get tons of write ups on DL. Only reason i had sliding was from a DL article.

          Money trail?

          • Brian Walker

            That’s a bit of a stretch. I trust DL.

    • Kyle Wiggers

      They went back to the drawing board for EvolveSMS and wrote the code from scratch. I definitely understand your frustration, though.

      • Brian Walker

        That’s fine, and I get that, but they’ve essentially told people who bought Sliding Messaging that they’ve been abandoned and they have to pay money again to continue getting updates. You don’t have to abandon an app just to code it from the ground up.

    • Brandon Golway

      So? Devs have to make money some how. Would you rather have ads all over the place?

      • Brian Walker

        So they make more apps. Their twitter app is evidence of that. Wanting to make more money by releasing a new app isn’t a problem at all, making a new version of another and charging for both is greedy.

        • Brandon Golway

          They said they were in too deep with SlidingSMS to make the changes that they wanted to so they decided to start over instead of messing with SlidingSMS, so instead of completely scrapping it and pissing off the users that liked it they decided to keep it around and satisfy both markets. I don’t see a problem with that. They’re charging for the extras and not the app itself.

    • MJ

      You damn kids thinking everything is free… Traditionally with PC programs you pay for each new version. They rewrote the app from scratch so pay the whole $1 something if you like it. Obtain paying job first if needed…

    • MJ

      You damn kids thinking everything is free… Traditionally, PC apps charge you for each new version. They had to rewrite the app from scratch so pay the whole $1 something if you like it. Obtain paying job first if needed…

  • SplashMTN

    I like this app and was glad to support the Dev with the in-app purchases, but this app is still missing – or should I say it’s not currently working, a very basic feature: MMS messaging (I realize this is not something basic to program, but feel like it is a basic component of a messaging app. Luckily the Dev responds to emails quickly and is working to get it straightened out.

    • Grayson Carr

      Pretty sure he’s been working to straighten out MMS on his last texting app since 1995, so good luck with that.

      • JHosche

        My biggest issue back with Slide Messaging was having to pay for MMS support. I don’t mind support app developers, but having to pay for relatively basic features seemed a bit much for me. Looks like the trend continues…

  • EvanTheGamer

    GO SMS Pro. Best SMS app available, by far, in my opinion.

    • Cesar

      Not even. Textra is far superior. GOSMS is too bloated.

      • Ben Udkow

        I was a die-hard Go SMS Pro user, but thanks to this thread I think I’m switching over to Textra. It’s SO FAST! I don’t use any of the “premium” features of the other apps, just want something fast, sexy and easy*.

        *That’s what he said!

      • rei_load

        Agreed. I recently switched from GO SMS to Textra almost a week ago and it’s way better. No bloat and ads, just pure simplicity.

      • CapnShiner

        I use Go SMS and I agree that it is bloated but I have yet to find anything better. I might try Textra based on all the positive feedback in this thread.

    • Trevor Hawk

      GO products are crap. Unless you’re still back on gingerbread.

  • FrankBoston

    Stupid question…is this just SMS replacement or Hangouts and SMS???

  • Cesar

    I downloaded it just to see what all the hubbub is about. It’s nice looking and the transparency is fantastic (I do wish more apps started using it). However, I’ve been using Textra for months and I love it to death. It’s simple, functional, and fast. I can’t see myself sticking with EvolveSMS for more than a day or two.

  • Daniel

    still not as useful to me as Handcent SMS with it’s pop-up notifications I can reply from and customization ability

    • capecodty

      Sad they didn’t include that feature since sliding messaging does.

      • Word

        It is there. By default, no need to even head into settings. Just hit reply when in any app and it’ll pop out. The toggle in settings pops it out every time, which I hate. I also like the way you can mark messages read from the notification shade. Very CM like.

    • Philip

      I think they do. In Settings > Popup Reply

  • Jeff

    I tried it. It is not the third party SMS app I’ve been waiting for. Went back to Hangouts.

    • Brandon Golway

      Exactly. Installed it last night, looked nice but didn’t include hangouts integration so I didn’t care about it.

      • Trevor Hawk

        Are you aware that Hangouts integration is impossible due to Google not releasing the APIs?

        • Marjorie William

          I guess I am saying I wish Evolve had the performance of Textra, and Textra had the design and functionality Evolvesms. But that’s me trying to live in a perfect world.

          • Trevor Hawk

            I definitely agree with that.

        • Scott Ricketts

          Yup and it’s what’s holding Android back from having a WP8 style all in one messenger. Since Google already employs one of the Pidgin leads, there’s nothing stopping them from adding that functionality into the Hangouts app. What really gets my goat is these guys did a better job with the KitKat UI than Google did with Hangouts. It’s a gorgeous app, that’s for sure.

          • Trevor Hawk

            That being true, I would much rather have a functional app than a gorgeous app. EvolveSMS still has a lot of bugs and lag problems and sometimes it just doesn’t work at all.

        • Brandon Golway

          Yep, didn’t think it would include it but figured it was worth a shot.

      • Cory

        Hangouts sucks.

        • Brandon Golway

          You suck.

          • FknTwizted

            No he is right, it sucks… Very laggy at startup, avatars sometimes don’t show up and it is really a pain in the button when choosing someone and it always tries to default to hangouts (needs a priority selection for defaulting to either sms or hangout). Just so there is no discussion about speed I use both n2 and n7 2013.

          • Brandon Golway

            It’s not laggy on my S4, and yes the avatars for Facebook integration don’t show up for me either but G+ contacts are always there. I don’t have the same “pain in the BUTTON” problem that you do though 😉

          • FknTwizted

            Don’t get me wrong, I love app and its potential however, my issues are reversed facebook… no problem but, it loads up slow and the G+ picture is very delayed. I like the integration but I find it feels half assed.

          • Cory

            Everything is laggy on the S4.

          • Cory

            Can’t take the truth eh

          • Brandon Golway


        • Rob

          I agree. Hangouts is utterly terrible. I’ll take 2.3’s messaging over Hangouts.

    • namskies

      Does it allow you to mark messages as read from the Notification Shade without having to open the app?

      • Anon

        Since no one answered you, yes it does.

    • Nick

      DISA.im … Is the way to go… every update is awesome and it’s only in the Alpha testing state still. Unification messaging is probably going to end up being the future since it saves battery by only running one service instead of all the apps services separately. I’d give that a try. Or at least wait until it gets into the beta stage.

  • works great for me. paid for the extras and to support dev.

  • Ryan Gullett

    Couple things to say about this app. I tried it out a couple days ago and I liked the design. Thought it was nice.

    1) I liked the app MUCH better when I found the setting that did not open my messages into the last conversation I was in. Instead it opens it to the tab of conversations. I almost feel like this should be the default setting.

    2) I love my current third party sms app Textra. Mainly because its simple and its speed and lack of lag is the best I have found. I find browsing evolve slightly not as enjoyable in those regards. There is a sec/half sec lag when you open the app compared to when I open Textra. Which seems instant. Maybe being picky, but sms is like the most used thing on my phone, so its important.

    3) Much like “free” games that are free to download, but charge you in app purchases, I am not of fun of applications going this same way as well. Just my personal preference of course. And the free version has a decent amount of features however, not a big deal. Slight annoyance.

    I guess I am saying I wish Evolve had the performance of Textra, and Textra had the design and functionality Evolvesms. But that’s me trying to live in a perfect world.

    • MashYouwther

      Textra is crazy fast. I was blown away when I first tried it a couple of weeks ago.

    • gpaine

      Textra is the best. It’s so consistent, and I agree it never lags. The support for it is excellent as well. They release updates almost weekly.

    • halkun

      Coming from a jailbroken iphone with bitesms. Textra was made by same developer so I was familiar with it and lovin the quick reply feature 🙂

    • Ben Klene

      Textra is great! Hadn’t heard of it before, thanks for the tip. I love that when I swipe a contact from right to left in the thread list, it opens up their message thread. I always thought this is how Hangouts should work (it may and I just never found the setting). I’ll stick with this for awhile, crazy fast!

    • kixofmyg0t

      The only problem with #1 is you can’t back out of the app then. You just go back and forth from the conversation list and current text. You can’t exit the app.

      But the Dev is super fast on hammering out bugs and replying to you should you ask a question so this should be fixed soon.

  • Maxim∑

    I kind of wish iMessage was on Android to

    • El_Big_CHRIS

      If they made it available, people would buy it. But they never will

  • TJ Walsh

    For the people who have tried it and are getting alot of FC errors, are the errors happening more on a certain device or all around?

    • Getatmatta

      I’m on VZW GS3 Running CM11, so not sure.

    • IHateSamosa

      No FC for me on the Moto X.

  • Hellfish

    I like it visually but I didn’t like that messages don’t try to resend on their own. I have spotty coverage at work and having to go manually resend all the failed messages is a PITA

  • hexodat64

    Looks really nice, but after reading all the buggy reports I think I’ll hold off for a few weeks. As much as I like trying new things, need to make sure I can actually receive my messages.

  • schwartzman93

    Its nice, but it was really buggy so I had to uninstall it

  • Getatmatta

    This app has great potential but right now is buggy as hell. Constant FC’s and this is widespread. Once they get the bugs/lag under control this thing will be a beast of an app.

    • Nathan Olonoff

      I’ve seen a lot of reports about that in the comments but I’m happy to say i haven’t had a single FC or bug in the app on my N4 on 4.4.

    • hldc1

      I’m on an HTC Droid DNA with 4.2.2 and I have yet to see a bug. Sounds unfortunate.

      Nonetheless, it’s a great app. Very polished. Looking forward to seeing how this thing develops.

  • The Rock

    who uses sms in 2014?

    • Kyle Wiggers


    • hexodat64

      Most people? What do I ask a girl for her hangouts email at a bar?

      • Adam Truelove

        It’s a relic of a past age. It needs to die. Unfortunately, it’s like email, it’s awful but we’re too far into it to get rid of it.

        • hexodat64

          Yes and no. There are times going through mountains that I don’t have data but can still call and text. I’d take that over nothing.

          • Adam Truelove

            SMS needs to die as much as voice. Data needs to carry everything. I just want my phone to be a PC connected to the internet. That will only happen once data is available everywhere voice/SMS is, but that doesn’t make SMS any less dumb.

          • D.B.Evans

            SMS is archaic; but it’s also ubiquitous. No other solution is universally pre-installed on all modern phones regardless of OS. All other solutions are proprietary and require that the two parties have the same apps active with accounts on them – and if the two people are using different apps, chances are slim on their being able to communicate – so you then need multiple apps to communicate to everyone.

            SMS is not pretty, it is not elegant, but it more or less works regardless of what additional apps each person has selected as their preferred proprietary solution.

    • Tony Byatt


    • Philip J. Fry
    • Adam Truelove

      I use SMS for like 2 people, that’s it. It really does need to die once and for all.

      • Brandon Golway

        I use it to talk to a lot of people but it needs to transition from being cell based to internet based. Its really annoying to get multi-part text messages and they charge you insane amounts for such tiny bits of data.

      • gpaine

        Looks like someone needs more friends 😉 I kid of course. I do wonder what will be next after SMS.

        • Michael

          Most likely something in the same vain as iMessage. One identifier that can be tied to another and used almost interchangeably.

    • Cesar

      Almost everyone I know in my personal life uses SMS. Remember, enthusiasts only make up a tiny percentage of the smartphone using population.

  • Philip J. Fry

    Inb4 the haters.

  • samosa queen