Gadget review: HulloMail SmartVoicemail

THE world is going app crazy. There are more than 500,000 apps in Apple’s Appstore with hundreds added daily.

‘App’ is marketing slang for a mini-software programme that you can load onto your smartphone or internet tablet to fulfil a function or to entertain, the digital equivalent of a spanner or a Rubik’s cube. I’m slightly app allergic – most I try are soon deleted, like digital chewing gum that has lost its taste. There are a few stalwarts that remain; can HulloMail join my trusty pack of app aces?

The premise is simple – the voicemail function on mobiles is a bit rubbish. HulloMail’s main function is as a voicemail fisherman, capturing each voicemail in its net and converting it into a palatable visual message. So instead of having to dial 121 or whatever, each message is represented by a speech bubble within the HulloMail App which you can play instantly. It works well, plus it’s really easy to call people back with a single press. So far so good then, and that’s 30 seconds or so saved. Everything is without charge to this point, as long as you have free minutes on your mobile contract.

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The magic happens if you upgrade to the £5.99 premium app with “Scribe”. This cunning feature uses advanced speech recognition software to automatically convert the first ten seconds or so of your voicemail into text. This does generate some utter nonsense at times: No, “Mr Chicken” did not leave me a message and, no, I was not looking to “fling some cheese”. However, for the most part the flavour of the message is captured in a few words.

HulloMail has lots of other unique features such as voicemail emails, unique greetings for specific contacts and the ability to access voicemail via the web. It won me over; it’s an app that I’ll be keeping.

HulloMail SmartVoicemail

Available for Android and iPhone for free, £5.99 for the premium version, see http://hullomail.com for more information.