One of my favorite apps on my BlackBerry is the new BlackBerry Messenger 5. The features, UI, and style all make messaging an awesome experience. One of my favorite features is the threaded messaging capabilities used. Sadly, this is a feature left behind when it comes to SMS on the BlackBerry. Supposedly, this is a feature soon to be coming to BlackBerry OS 5 in the future. While we wait for RIM to introduce truly threaded SMS I went on a search for third party apps to bring this much needed feature to my phone.
I tried a few different options and finally settled on Empower SMS Viewer. Empower has loaded their app with more features and UI tweaks than any other, yet it still seems somewhat useless to me. A true threaded SMS experience is when messages from people (incoming and outgoing) are grouped into a single message in list form, much like all popular IM clients do. BlackBerry devices currently do not offer this feature and will remove conversation points as individual messages are deleted from the inbox. Empower advertises their application as a “Threaded SMS Viewer for BlackBerry” but sadly this isn’t entirely true.
What Empower SMS Viewer does is skins your SMS messages with a custom UI, giving it a threaded IM look. What it doesn’t do though is combine messages into a single user, thus not changing the current functionality of BlackBerry messaging whatsoever. As far as skinning, Empower SMS Viewer does a great job. You can set custom headers, backgrounds, and fonts for your SMS messages. There is quite a bit of control available for these options. They also support contact pictures and a plethora of emoticons. If you’re looking to make your SMS messages look more interesting, then Empower SMS Viewer gives you the tools to make it as custom as you like.
- Excellent skinning options
- Fast and efficient on many devices
- Gives your SMS messages a truly custom “threaded” look
- Adds emoticon and profile picture support to SMS
- Not really a true threaded option
- High price
With a high price tag of $14.99 I’m not sure if it’s worth it. If skinning is your thing, then you can’t find a better app, just don’t be fooled by the “threaded” claims made by Empower as they simply are not technically true. I will continue to wait for RIM to roll out BlackBerry Messenger’s SMS capabilities (though as we all know, that could be a long time).