Not all smartphone apps for the Google Voice service are created equal, as we discovered back in September, 2009, when we on iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android phones.
On Thursday, Google updated its Google Voice apps for Android--our hands-down winner--and BlackBerry, the runner up. (If you must know, we declared the iPhone experience to be "a load of crap.")
A modest enhancement to Google Voice on Android and BlackBerry tweaks the back-end calling mechanism to make dialing a faster process when you call out. Though there's no real change to the feature set on the front end, Google says that callers should notice quicker connection times.
Calls took longer to place through the previous apps because the software needed to request an access number from the Google Voice server before achieving a ringtone. Google has cut out a few steps in the process it's now calling "Direct Access Numbers" by assigning a particular phone number to each person you call. This skips the load required by your phone's data network to communicate with Google's server, Google explained on its blog.U.S. users of the Google Voice service can update to version 0.4 from the Android Market. Blackberry owners should go to http://m.google.com/voice from the mobile browser.