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Every second spent listening to the incredibly slow droning of the voicemail lady is a second wasted. That's why we love visual voicemail, which allows us to see a list of our messages and who sent them. It's a feature that's only available to iPhone users on contract with O2, however -- until HulloMail comes into your life.
HulloMail is available free for iPhones, Android phones, BlackBerries and smart phones that support push email, which includes most Nokia smart phones. We used the iPhone 4 version for this review, but we've also used the Android version.
We like to whip through our voicemails as quickly as possible, so we can get back to the soothing, impersonal interaction with our computer. So we love how HulloMail displays a quick list of VMs, which we can pare down without even having to listen to each one. That annoying ex still calling? That mate you're avoiding? That war-crimes tribunal trying to get you to turn up to some inconvenient trial in the Hague? Deleted without even having to hear a minute of their whining.
If you do want to actually listen to your messages, you can do it from the app, as well as call back. The user interface is straightforward and easy to use, and we found setting up the app with our voicemail simple, using the HulloMail Web site.
The main downside to HulloMail is that it's not integrated with the phone's dialler, as the native iPhone app is. That means you can't just hit the voicemail button on your phone to hear your messages, or launch the app to open the list of VMs. You have to open the app, just like any other, to get going -- but it's a small price to pay for such a useful feature.
That doesn't mean that you have to have the app open all the time. You'll get push notifications on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry whenever you receive a message.
HulloMail can also deliver your VMs to your email inbox, or you can check them on the HulloMail Web site -- so you can hear your messages anywhere and store them for safe-keeping. This is basically the app's only feature for generic smart phones -- unlike the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry versions, you can't view your VMs in the app, just in your email inbox as sound file attachments.
Since this is the glittering utopia of the Internet, HulloMail is totally free. So get in there while the getting's good and download the app from the HulloMail Web site.