8sms brings back the original SMS app on Android 4.4

November 6, 2013
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While the highly anticipated launch of Android 4.4 and the Nexus 5 was met with a generally positive response, not all changes have been met with open arms. Those who do not share Google's vision of a unified messaging app now have a way out with the 8sms messing app that has just been updated on Google Play Store.

One of the biggest, and probably one of the most controversial, changes that can be found on Google's two newest hit products is the merging of SMS functionality in its Google+ Hangouts app. Although this feature was actually already pre-announced at Google's "Morning with Google+" event days before the release, the Nexus 5, being the first to have Android 4.4 installed, is the first to have that feature as the default. That may be well and good for some users, but the problem at the moment is that Google is, in a way, forcing this new integration by completely removing the default messaging app on the Nexus 5.

Those who already own a Nexus 5, or those who are worried about this change coming from Android 4.4, or even those who just enjoy the simplicity of the previously default messaging app have their work cut out for them. XDA senior member bengfan has an app called 8sms that brings back a bit of that old-style goodness. The app is taken from the messaging app found in Android 4.3 via CyanogenMod 10.2 and incorporates some interesting features in addition to the basic default SMS app functionality, including quick reply popups, emoji support, a dark theme, and gesture-based templates.

The app is freely available for any Android device running Android 4.1 or higher. However, 8sms has also now been updated to be compatible with Android 4.4 and the Nexus 5. Just remember that Android 4.4 has changed the rules slightly when it comes to SMS apps so that only one app will be able to actually receive and send messages. The rest will simply be notified that a message has been received.

Download: 8sms on Google Play Store
VIA: XDA Developers


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  • Peter Blanco

    I don’t understand why people who don’t like Hangouts with sms are complaining so much. Google literally made it easier than ever before to have a 3rd party messaging app as your default, instead of whining why not just download one you like? I feel like people are complaining purely for the sake of complaining.

    • David Williams

      I had a perfectly good SMS app that stopped working under 4.4 kitkat. Using hangouts in its place is a real pain. I had “sent” about half a dozen SMS messages before I realised they weren’t actually leaving my phone. So, no I’m not complaining for the sake of complaining.

      • Peter Blanco

        I sympathize with you, but in due time I guarantee that will be fixed!

      • zan

        It is painful to walk through accounts, find the contact in hangout, then send SMS. The stock SMS is much easier to use.

        Adding SMS feature into hangout is Google’s choice, I don’t mind even if they set hangout as the default SMS. But they further removed the stock SMS app in android, that is the problem. Customer who likes stock SMS app has no choice but going to 3rd party app. It is very similar to what Microsoft did in Windows 8, promote their tablet app by removing start menu. Google is doing same thing now.

      • WestIndiesKING

        Man up

  • Cal Rankin

    This is good that KitKat allows choosing the default SMS app. I’ve heard reviews that SMS in hangouts wasn’t satisfactory, so people who think it doesn’t work or don’t want Hangouts can use this

  • Nick

    8sms is a savior on this big flop on Google’s part. I don’t think the problem is people don’t agree with the “unified messaging” concept as much as they care about having the ability to turn that crap off if they don’t want it. My biggest problem with the new Hangouts in 4.4 was you can’t even filter the contact lists to just show SMS people or generally turn off the google+ chat stuff so you can see an SMS-only messenger if you want it. If they just increased the options in Hangouts I wouldn’t see a problem with this. As is though, it was NOT ready to be a replacement in the OS.

  • mrironic

    Going to try this. Can’t even find my sim contacts list presently.