Third Party Dialer Apps Can Integrate Visual Voicemail Services in Android Oreo
Visual voicemail was first introduced roughly around 10 years ago. Instead of manually calling the voicemail service to hear your incoming voicemails, you have a visual interface for choosing, playing, and deleting voicemails. Samsung (Instinct), Apple (iPhone 2G), and BlackBerry (Storm/Touch) were the first OEMs to adopt a visual element in their voicemail services. However, Android has always been severely lacking in the visual voicemail department. Google Voice, which includes such services, became available without invitation on 2010, but it wasn’t until 2015 that Google brought a native implementation of visual voicemail into the Android system, with Marshmallow.
It was only available in the Google Dialer, though, and many carriers opted for making their own visual voicemail apps instead of supporting the stock implementation. For example, AT&T and T-Mobile both have their own voicemail apps available on the Play Store, despite Android perfectly supporting this feature. The fact that it’s limited to the Google Dialer also means that OEM dialers like Samsung’s don’t have visual voicemail services built in. With Android Oreo, Google wants to expand dialer support for visual voicemail.
Now, thanks to a newly implemented API in Android 8.0 Oreo, third party dialer apps can now handle OMTP or similar visual solutions without resorting to other apps or services. VisualVoicemailService, first implemented in API level 26 (Android Oreo), looks to streamline all visual voicemail solutions available out there into a single, universal service which allows you to hear and delete incoming voicemails, as well as seeing the sender number.
This is a really basic service, but a really awaited one indeed, as it means that any Android dialer app can now properly support visual voicemail services. And while they are probably playing catch up here (this service arguably should have existed since the Marshmallow implementation), we are really excited to see this, as more users can start to enjoy this feature (instead of being Google exclusive). The service, which was added a while back, is documented on the Android Developers website for everyone to take a look at, implement and roll out visual voicemail services on their third party dialer application.