Best text messaging SMS replacement apps for Android
The beauty of Android is that you can ditch most of the stock apps, if you like, and replace them with third-party ones, in case you aren't satisfied with what Google or the default phone manufacturer overlay are offering you. This goes not only for alternative browsers, galleries, music and video players, but even for dialers and text messaging applications.
Yep, if you don't like Google Hangouts, or whatever the phone maker has plopped on your unsuspecting soul, you can swap the default text messaging app with something readily available on the Play Store, and some of those apps will serve you better, and look as you please, introducing skins and themes into the mix.
There's no shortage of apps that manage your phone's Short Message Service (SMS), or, as they are commercially popular, text messages. In addition to various themes and layouts, you can get a bunch of extra functionality like scheduled group messages, batch delete, tabbed layout, and many more. The most popular ones like Go or Handcent, might already seem a tad bloated, but we've rounded up some other of the fine text messaging replacement apps for your Android phone in the slideshow below, too.
With a clean and pretty interface, as well as tabbed texting, Hello SMS is one of the simplest and best-looking replacements for your clunky stock text messaging app. It offers group messaging, as well as light or dark themes, depending on the time of day, so you don't get your eyes poked out when you get a drunk text in the middle of the night.
Handcent has been one of the most popular SMS apps for Android for many years, and rightfully so. It offers anything text and MMS message-related you can think of - from group chat, through computer texting and sandboxing messages, to a variety of skins and themes to pretty it up. Definitely worth a go if you are looking for more than just simple texting, although the sheer amount of features makes it look a tad bloated.
Evolve is a beautiful text message app replacement that has a swipeable interface and a full suite of features. There is group and preset messaging support, widgets with lockscreen functionality, customizable notifications, and batch deleting of messages. Take a look at the video, and give it a go.
If you want a texting app that looks good, and you still get to customize almost everything, then Chomp is for you. Apart from app and message locks in addition to other options, backup, blacklisting and group messaging, you also get things like a scheduled SMS sender, or you can stop a text while sending, pretty cool. There is also a quick reply popup on the lock screen itself, if needed. In addition, you can change the themes and notification icons, but also the LED notification colors, the ringtones, vibrate patterns, colors, fonts and all wallpapers, to make Chomp look truly yours.
As with the respective launcher, GO SMS Pro offers the most theming options out of them all text messaging replacement apps, and more are added frequently. It is also one of the most full-featured or most-bloated SMS apps out there, depending on how you feel about that, so it won't be to every taste. In addition to all the basics like group messaging, scheduler, message blocker and emoji, GO SMS Pro also offers a private box where you can set up features like Gesture Unlock, Entrance Hidden, and Notification in Disguise.
If you want a no-bloat some-thrills text messaging replacement app, 8sms is a port of the Android KitKat stock messaging, ported from CyanogenMod 10.2 M1. It sports quick reply pop-ups, dark theme and an emoji collection
If you worry about privacy, TextSecure encrypts your text and chat messages both when sending over the air, and on your phone. You might have a little trouble retrieving MMS messages when the person on the other end doesn't have TextSecure, but adding complexity to simple tasks in the name of security does that sometimes.
If you want to try a nice alternative to Google's Hangouts application, or the default messaging app that comes with your phone, Smitten SMS is worth a try. It is actually the stock KitKat messaging app with Hangouts-style sliding UI and a bunch of extra features. It sports a sliding convo mode, and there is a pop-up reply function. You can also shoot a quick reply straight from the notification bar, mark the message as read there, or have an active notification icon. Sliding SMS allows you to hide the avatar of your contact, or present it as a circle image. There are various themes and message colors to choose from, and a bunch of new Android emoticons. That's not all, though, as the clean, minimalistic interface loads without any lag or waiting, and the one-man team behind Smitten is constantly updating or improving on it.