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Customize messages with Handcent Android app

by Caitlin M. Foyt

The Handcent app for your Android phone is perfect for the person who's bored to death by Android's ho-hum texting platform. The enhanced SMS (short messaging service) and MMS (multimedia messaging service) allow users to completely customize their messaging experience. Do you want your conversations to have a purple background with hot pink writing? This app can make that dream come true.

This app gives you a lot of options when it comes to changing the look and feel of your phone's messaging function. With Handcent, you can put your conversation in a more aesthetically pleasing bubble design, change the color of the font and background, alter the font style, and choose whether or not you'd like to see your contact's assigned photo next to his or her name.

While finding where you need to be in order to modify colors is a fairly easy feat, finding the exact color is a little more difficult. This app does not have a palette where users can select their colors. Instead, users must blend their own, using various color scales. This isn't a huge problem if you are familiar with photo-editing programs or have a good understanding of the color wheel, but it might end up being a tedious process for those who have little experience with either.

Handcent also has the ability to create customized alerts for different contacts. You can set the app to play a certain sound effect for one friend and a completely different one for another contact.

In addition, Handcent simplifies the task of sending multimedia files. The app integrates with the Android phone's camera to attach a photo (either one that was just taken, or one that was stored in memory) to a message. Once the photo has been attached, this image will appear as a thumbnail in a separate bubble in the conversation stream. Video and music is also a pretty easy process, but users might be frustrated to learn that there are file size limits. Stick with relatively small files, though, and you shouldn't have any trouble.