SpinVox is dead - we look at the alternatives

From today, SpinVox is no longer available in the UK. If you're a SpinVox user then you would have received a text message stating the service was coming to an end. Well, the end is nigh.

It's disappointing news if you relied on the service to send you your voicemails in text form via SMS or email. Not as disappointing as the news would have been to all of those Spinvox call-centre workers in South Africa and the Philippines, er, sorry, hi-tech conversion computers, that are no longer needed.

Whatever the truth may be in terms of SpinVox's shady past, the fact remains that it was a useful service that a lot of people were signed up to. So what now? Where is there to turn if you're still in need of a voicemail service?

Luckily, we've done the digging around for you and uncovered the three best alternatives to fill your SpinVox shaped holes:

HulloMail

Where
Website / iPhone / Blackberry / Android

in a nutshell
App based voicemail service with extras

Price
Free

HulloMail is an app that is available free on your iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and other selected smartphones that support push email. It works by taking over your regular voicemail and basically monitors all of your incoming call records within the app, or via its website.

It will notify you of missed calls and play you your voicemail messages. But your phone already does that for you, right? Well, it does but it doesn't go over and beyond that like HulloMail does.

To begin with, the user interface looks good and is very easy to navigate. It's like the visual voicemail aspect of the iPhone, only more colourful and with pictures. But it isn't all about the way HulloMail looks - it also offers a number of additional voicemail services that aren't otherwise available on your handset.

Firstly you can reply to missed calls and voicemails with a Hullo of your own, which is basically a voice memo. This can be sent direct to your contact's HulloMail client, or to an email address.

You can also have your voicemails forwarded to your private email address in mp3 form if you haven't got time to check your HulloMail app. You can get missed call notifications to your email as well. This is similar to SpinVox, although you'll be getting sound files rather than text files. For people that are unable to access their voicemail via their phone, whether they're abroad or at work, or for any other reason, this is going to be an incredibly useful service.

Check out HulloMail in action on the iPhone:

Andy Munarriz, CEO of HulloMail told us "We are focussed on a more profound enhancement or evolution to voicemail if you like. Placing two way voice messaging in the palm of your hand. With HulloMail a voicemail can turn into a two way conversation with our Hullo technology. HulloMail streamlines voice messaging making voice as simple as texting or emailing".

Andy also said that HulloMail was looking at some sort of transcribing service in the future, but said it wouldn't do so without the right technology first being in place.

Pibbix Voicemail

Where
Website - Invite only at present

in a nutshell
Premium voicemail to text service 

Price
£7.50 - £30.00 per month

Pibbix doesn't BS you with claims of a magical computer with voice message conversion capabilities. Its voicemail to text accuracy is down to one thing - people.

Using specialist human transcribers who hear a voicemail once they have been pre-processed using proprietary technology, Pibbix users receive their voicemails as text via SMS and Email. The Email even includes an MP3 of the voicemail if you'd prefer to listen to it.

There's also an encrypted website that stores all of your voicemails, so you've got access to your messages via any device you can get online with. Plus you can link as many phones to your account as you want. Here's a video of it in action:

At present, it's invite only but Pibbix founder Dan Lane told us that it will soon be opening publicly for both individual and company accounts. In the meantime, if you want to use the service you can request an invite from here.

Pibbix charge per voicemail transcribed. For £7.50 a month you'll get 20 messages transcribed. For £16 it's 50 messages and for £30 you get 100 transcriptions. That's 30 - 37.5p per message depending on what option you go for. If you use all of your credits up you can still access your voicemails via your phone as normal.

It's not cheap but Dan was quick to point out that, unlike SpinVox, he wanted to engage with users in an open and honest way. Dan also told us about another useful feature of the service. "We have some basic filtering functions so you don't use up your transcription credits on nuisance callers and we'll be enhancing these filters as well as releasing other features such as developer APIs very soon".

VoxSciences

Where
Website

in a nutshell
Cheaper than Pibbix, maybe not as good

Price
£5.00 - £10.00

The final alternative we've selected for you is VoxSciences, which has received a surge in new users since SpinVox announced that it was shutting its doors.

Ken Blackman of VoxSciences told us "the registrations at our website are rolling in thick and fast and, judging by the emails and calls to our support line, the vast majority of these registrations are former SpinVox customers".

VoxSciences offers practically the same service as Pibbix. Voicemails are converted to text and sent via SMS and email, with an audio copy of the voicemail attached to the email.

Unlike Pibbix, however, and more in line with what SpinVox was supposed to be doing, messages are converted to text using a computer system rather than by human transcribers. Ken claimed though, that VoxScience's API "is much more versatile than the one that was offered by SpinVox".

VoxSciences uses its VERB conversion engine to carry out transcriptions. It states that the more messages you get, the better VERB gets at transcribing as it learns more about the human voice.

VoxSciences costs £5 for 30 messages, roughly 17p per message, or £10 for 65 messages, which is just over 15p per message. Once you've used up all of your messages it simply rolls over, so be sure to cancel in time if you don't want to use the service any more. Sign up now and you'll get a week's free trial.


You

Which one you choose is entirely up to you. They all have their strong points and they probably all have their weak points. The only way you'll find out what service is right for you is by trying them out for yourself and seeing what one fits best.

Let us know how you get on and, of course, feel free to suggest any alternatives that we may have missed...



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