Smartphones have, for the most part, taken our ability to communicate and improved it dramatically. There are more ways to reach out to the rest of the world than ever before, and whether you're into text only, face to face video, or good old fashioned audio calls you can reach out with relatively little effort. There's one small piece of voice communication that has taken a backseat in this new generation of communication, due largely to carrier efforts to monetize the technology and users deciding they could live without it. Caller ID as a service has changed quite a bit from the days of the little LCD display next to your home phone, and the folks at Cyanogen have decided to work with one of the more impressive companies keeping this service alive today to implement an integrated solution in their next dialer app.
It's more than a little strange to get excited about a dialer app, but free integrated Caller ID that doesn't suck is kind of a big deal. The folks at Truecaller have made a name for themselves by being a powerful, community-driven Caller ID service with a ton of features that play well with most Android phones. On top of the traditional Caller ID service, which usually works well to tell you the name of the person or business behind a particular number, Truecaller lets users flag numbers as known spammers. When enough users have flagged the same number, that information shows up alongside the ID info so you know not to bother answering. Truecaller does a reasonable job working with notifications and incoming call pop-ups with their helpful data to inform the user, but a truly integrated dialer experience would be ideal, and that's what Cyanogen OS users will soon be able to enjoy.
This new Cyanogen/Truecaller dialer takes all of the best Lollipop features — including contact cards, heads-up notifications, and Material Design — and wraps in native spam reporting and call blocking alongside community-driven reporting. Users will be able to access Truecaller data across the entire dialer, including call history and individual contact cards that can be edited or flagged at any point in the app. It's a fresh coat of paint and a ton of new features, coming together to create a dialer that works better than the experience most carriers are now charging extra for.
As cool as this new dialer looks, it's not something everyone is going to feel like they want or need. The Cyanogen folks are prepared for this, and plan to make the Truecaller features opt-in and removable. Users who want to take advantage of Truecaller features but already have a preferred third party dialer app are supported as well, so if you prefer something else but still want all the Caller ID stuff you're covered. Cyanogen isn't currently talking about a launch date for this new dialer, and the company isn't ready to announce support for their community-driven CyanogenMod users, but the plan for this new dialer is to have it exist as a global product that is eventually rolled out to all Cyanogen OS devices.
It may be just a dialer app, and this may be just Caller ID, but this is one of those minor things we routinely see users ask for year after year, and the Cyanogen folks are taking an interesting path to delivering that experience.