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Sponsored App Review: Disa

June 3, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

 

Disa is an Android app that’s currently in active development that aims to do one thing; bring order to the chaos that is instant messaging. It’s never been easier to communicate with each other with instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, SMS and Facebook Messenger however that means we have multiple apps to communicate with certain groups of people. Disa brings these services, as well as good old SMS, together into one app, beautifully put together with Material Design. Disa features a plugin system, which has recently been open sourced, which means that instant messaging companies are free to create their own plugin, as are home brew developers. Disa can save Android users anywhere from 30% to 60% in battery life thanks to a patent pending power management technology, that could be used in future operating systems or other apps. Let’s take a closer look at Disa and how it can organize your life.

Disa is currently in beta, but it’s available for anyone to download from the Google Play Store here. When you first launch the app, you’ll be introduced into what Disa can offer you.

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You’ll need to add services to Disa in order to actually use the app. Right now, there are only plugins for WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and of course SMS. Recently, the plugin system of Disa was open sourced (developers can read more here) so in the future more plugins will start to arrive, but don’t hold your breath for a Google Hangouts plugin. A Telegram plugin is coming soon, and other services like Fongo, Dasher have already showed intent to create plugins for Disa.

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For me, SMS is still the de facto service as all my friends and family use it, but more and more people are using WhatsApp and sadly, Facebook. So, I was able to add my WhatsApp account to Disa really easily.

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My friend Simon uses both SMS and WhatsApp, mostly for free picture messages, so I took it upon myself to merge these conversations. As far as I can tell, these aren’t done automatically, which might be a problem for some, but it does give users a little extra control.

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Now that I’ve merged these two conversations together, I can see SMS messages as well as WhatsApp messages. As I’ve merged this conversation, it doesn’t matter how Simon replies to me, be it WhatsApp or SMS, all messages will appear here, and I can reply using whichever service I like. This is also a good example of how well Disa manages pictures inline.

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You can easily view these images in full size as well, which is always nice to see.

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One thing that I didn’t like is that the Emoji keyboard isn’t the same as the default Android emoji, but then again we could say that about WhatsApp or any Samsung phone, too.

Disa Features - Emoji Keyboard

The conversation list in Disa looks good, and is easy to manage. You simply slide the last conversation either in or out from the right-hand side of the display, and you can see a contact photo as well as the last message in the list, too.

Disa Features - Conversation List

After spending a little time with Disa, I can see why the app will appeal to a lot of users. These days, more and more people are turning to services like WhatsApp, not least because they’re free and well, the “in” thing. However, many people still use SMS and can make having to juggle these services more than a pain. For me, I have to juggle SMS for all of my friends and family, Hangouts for work things and WhatsApp for my “cooler” friends. This causes me some headaches from time-to-time and while Disa can’t clean things up entirely, thanks to the lack of a Hangouts plugin, I was able to merge WhatsApp and SMS contact conversations together, which means I’m more likely to actually talk to people on WhatsApp now, as it’s easier to talk to people. As mentioned above, there’s a patent pending power management technology in Disa which makes this an app that’s very gentle on your battery life and I wish that other messaging apps would focus on the battery life hit. Facebook users will know how big a hit the service can be on battery life, but Disa can use up to four plugins – including the Facebook one – and use less battery life than just Facebook Messenger on its own.

Ratings

  • Speed (4/5) – Disa runs nice and quickly and it doesn’t take long at all to set up, either.
  • Features (5/5) – Even though there are some big holes in terms of services, Disa lives up to its promise of making your instant messaging much, much easier to deal with.
  • Theme (4/5) – With great Material Design hooks and an easy to use interface, Disa is a good-looking and simple application.
  • Overall (4/5) – Not having Hangouts integration is a big blow to me, but with an open source plugin platform, the future looks bright for Disa.

Pros

  • Makes it super-simple to merge multiple conversations across multiple services while also offering the ability to reply in one of many services.
  • Offers SMS, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger integration right now, with more on the way.
  • Handles all types of attachments without any issues from WhatsApp and other services, as well as Push-to-Talk where supported.
  • Brings order to chaos by merging conversations, and thanks to the patent pending power management tech, there’s no added hit on battery life despite Disa doing more than other apps.

Cons

  • Doesn’t have integration for Hangouts, Skype or other popular platforms, but this is more them than it is Disa, as a free open source plugins system is available for anyone to develop for.
  • Only offers two plugins right now, but it is an app in Beta right now.

Disa is an Android app that’s currently in Beta, and while that does show, there’s already so much on offer here that it can be a massive help for people. It can bring order to chaos where your messaging services are concerned and it does so without compromise. WhatsApp works 100%, as does SMS and there’s even a little support for Android Wear watches. Over time, I’m sure that Disa will continue to improve, but right now the ability to use WhatsApp, Facebook and SMS together in one conversation is appealing enough, and the patent pending power management technology has a lot to offer in the future, too. The future is bright for Disa, and with almost 250,000 downloads in just a few months since launch, more people are turning on to the idea of keeping things organized. There’s plans for email support as well as payment methods like PayPal and Square Cash. Disa is one of those rare apps willing to build something and let whoever wants to join in, do so. More apps should take this approach, and hopefully more IM services will jump onboard soon.

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