The baby has started talking - Gecko SMS 1.3.0

A new Gecko SMS version, 1.3.0, is available now from Android Market and other sources.

The most visible (or audible, actually) new feature is Say sender's name: Gecko SMS can now use the built-in Android text-to-speech engine to tell you who has sent the message, so that you can know the sender without looking at the phone, or taking it out of your pocket.

But there are lot's of other changes as well: Landmark view got a new button for "Own Location", that takes you back after panning to faraway locations. This functionality used to be available through a double tap. Now double tap works as zoom in, like in other mapping applications.

 

Much development time was also spent on speed: optimizing the way we handle landmarks and other data in various situations. The tangible improvement is that landmark panning and zooming feel very snappy and changing between screens is fast. Even in lower-end Android devices. Trust me: I am using Gecko SMS on a 79€ Huawei X1. That is 79 euros for an Android phone, without any contracts, not bad! More about that experience in a later blog post.

Other improvements affect forwarding and editing messages, and how subject texts in multimedia messages (MMS) are handled:

 

  1. When forwarding a message, landmark is now disabled by default to keep the original message intact.
  2. When editing a long message, the text field can now be scrolled normally
  3. In New message, the To:-field now shows all contacts regardless of phone number type (Home/Mobile/etc.)
  4. When forwarding a multimedia message without a subject, Gecko SMS no longer creates an "Fwd: "-subject. MMS is not used like email and most users do not want a subject to come up like this.
  5. Viewing an MMS with a subject had the subject surrounded with ugly <Subject: > -tags, now subject is shown in plain bold text.

If you are wondering how the last two problems got there in the first place. This is because Gecko SMS is built on the native Android messaging, which serves as a great starting point for Gecko. Builging on a native platform component is possible due to the Open Source licensing of the Android platform. But one has to wonder a bit: Who has specified the Android user interface for these exact cases?

 

What do you think of these improvements? If there some functionality you are missing in Gecko SMS? If you are not using Gecko SMS yet: What would be the feature that would make you want to use it? Let us know in the comments below, through email or through our Facebook group!