Truecaller lets you see who’s calling
A few weeks ago I wrote about how Android has so many tools to prevent telemarketers from ever disturbing your dinner. Back then I was using two apps, one for hidden telemarketing numbers and one for normal numbers. The latter was a paid service an expensive one at that, and one I would rather be without. Turns out that there's a free option that works just as well, and on many platforms.
The reason why I missed the app when I first looked for software is that Truecaller registers as incompatible with my Galaxy S II. It isn't, and works fine if you install it through m.truecaller.com, but Google Play doesn't even show it. Yet another example of why Google's "we know best" method of filtering apps has absolutely no business on a platform like Android where the fragmentation that exists causes developers to mislabel apps all the time. Perhaps that's also why Truecaller made the browser option for installing the app, and the URL works on all of Truecaller's supported platforms: Android, iOS, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone.
Despite the app being available on all those platforms however, functionality and pricing is all over the place. Caller ID, where it actually tells you who's calling as they're calling, is only available on Android, Windows Mobile, and Symbian. iPhone and Windows Phone users can send any complaints about this gap in functionality to the respective platform's developer, as this is simply a matter of the OSes not giving apps the access they need for it to be possible. The iPhone app is limited to notifying about incoming spam calls (likely by adding a contact with lots of numbers to the address book) and searching and updating the address book, while Windows Phone users can…search for numbers…not exactly the most fully featured version of the app.
Pricing is also a bit random, with the Android and Windows Phone apps being free, the iPhone app being $1, and the Symbian and Windows Mobile apps being $5. The Android app is one of those that have all the features, so why it is free while other versions cost money I have no clue, but I'm not complaining.
Once installed, Truecaller will check incoming unknown numbers and tell you who it is, assiming the feature is supported on your device of course. Truecaller claims worldwide number lookup which is quite a claim, but it seems to work here in Norway for what it's worth. Comments seem to suggest that it does indeed do what it claims in other countries too.
Other featues include the ability to update the address book with info from social networks and number services online (to add addresses, for instance), search for names and numbers, filter and block calls, and SMS number look-up. I don't think I'm being too subjective if I say that most people will use this for the automated number look-up during incoming calls though, so the app versions that don't have that feature might not be as desirable as the ones that do.
Personally I'm just glad I no longer have to pay for a caller ID service, as the monthly fee of the local Norwegian service I was using was definitely not realistic in terms of normal app prices. Only time will tell if Truecaller is able to find all incoming numbers, but so far it's done well.
To download it for your device, head to m.truecaller.com and you will be given device-specific instructions.