Carrying two phones is a major pain. You’re essentially managing two separate computers and their incessant neediness: they have to be charged, updated, kept in sync, and most importantly, not misplaced. Some people don’t have a choice, as they’re issued a work device but still want a separate phone for personal use.
If you’re living this nightmare, there are some clever apps and even hardware options that might eliminate the madness. Some apps will assign you a second number with which you can receive calls or text messages and use separately from your main line. And slowly, more smartphones are starting to come with a dual-SIM card tray, which would give you more freedom.
Whether you own your own business or just want to more closely guard your number, here’s a sampling of the two-number options worth considering.
Line2 connects you with a new number
One app to arrive on the scene recently and gain quite a bit of traction is called Line2. It’s pretty straightforward: you sign up for an account and select a phone number, which you get to pick from several choices based on the area code you want.
Once that’s done, it’s $10 per month for unlimited texts and inbound calls, 5,000 outbound minutes, call screening, and a few other features. You can try it out for free, but free accounts are limited to calls and texts with other Line2 numbers.
During a brief field trial between another Line2 account I found the calls to be reliable and offer good quality, just as I’d experience with my regular number. There’s a persistent notification bar that lives on the top of your screen, which is convenient to use as a launch pad for access to Line2 services. If you like to keep the notification center clean, you’ll want to disable it.
Line2 might serve as an ideal option if you want another number to give out as your business line, complete with the ability to send calls straight to voicemail after hours on weekends thanks to several built-in controls. The design could use a few splashes of paint as there’s some persistent Holo design hanging around, but the app definitely gets the job done.
Head to the Sideline
Another good choice, and probably my favorite in this group, is Sideline. Much like Line2, you get to choose a new phone number and use the app for phone calls, text messages, and voicemail.
It works over your carrier network, although Wi-Fi calling is part of the $3 per month Pro upgrade, which also kills the ads from the interface and ensures that your number doesn’t disappear. Unused numbers are sent back to the Sideline pool after 30 days of inactivity.
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