PhoneFusion Brings Visual Voicemail to Android OS

Ever since Apple introduced visual voicemail with the launch of the iPhone, envious customers of competing carriers have requested it as a feature for their own phones.

Thanks to the new version of their visual voice mail application, PhoneFusion looks like it's the first company to take the Android plunge into voicemail efficiency. It might not be enough at this point to compete with the top phone (especially considering the G1's substantial flaws), but it appears to be a good, useful app.

Several companies have also come out with their own versions of the app in the last 15 months. CallWave uses a voicemail widget and texting notifications (similar to GotVoice), and others, like SimulSays and most recently, Verizon, have added them for a small price. Most of them look the same visually, but they are often not as smooth as the iPhone's set-up.

PhoneFusion's app works just like the other visual voicemail apps and comes closest to the iPhone's. You get to judiciously pick through your voicemail on your phone, with some archiving and labeling options. After you sign up from your G1 browser to open up a free account, you can set it to forward any other voicemails in your life (like your work voicemail) and they will all be grouped together in the Googlephone app.

While the first version of the PhoneFusion app was heavily scorned by Androidites as fugly and a slightly better version of a Windows Mobile app, the new Beta version looks much better, with room to grow.

That first version of the app was tested by the guys at Android Apps and they had a hard time receiving their first voice mail routed in to the phone. However, it has apparently worked for most other users. Personally, my concern is still with the design: It would benefit from a larger font and better graphics.

Still, like Charlie has previously suggested, the creation of a successful app for the Google Android mobile system gives us the opportunity to analyze the growth scale of the apps and the companies that make them.

One of the reasons why iPhone apps seem to do so well compared to other ones is that you know the ones that make it through the strict App Store process will work on the iPhone. Cross-phone apps usually don't work as well because coding an app in the same system for completely different hardware (like touchscreens vs. keypads) makes it harder to replicate the user interface every time.

And since the G1 phone is the only Android OS phone at the moment, we can't compare the difference in quality between a single app. Still, simple apps that accurately copy the user experience of a specific iPhone app like PhoneFusion's visual voicemail suggest that Apple won't have all the best apps in the next few years.

Mainly, a formidable open system like the future version of the Android OS will be able to replicate its apps across several mobile systems without losing ground in quality.

It's just another reason why Apple might have to open up its closed system.