Checking your voicemail with an Android phone is about to get a lot less cumbersome.
Those of you who owned an iPhone but then switched at some point to Android were probably stunned (and completely disgusted) by the fact that Android doesn't offer any official app for visual voicemail. Google has always left it up to carriers and developers to provide a third-party solution - and those were often crap. Just crap.
But now, for the first time, it looks like Google is finally building visual voicemail into Android. In a post on the Android Dev Preview Tracker site, Google revealed that engineers are now working on visual voicemail implementation for Android M, a working title for the next version of Android.
A preview build of Android M for developers will enable visual voicemail, but only for French carrier Orange. The final build of Android M should include visual voicemail that works with T-Mobile. Engineers are working to provide infrastructure for carriers to include voicemail text transcriptions too.
So, visual voicemail will be built into Android M and enabled for customers with US carrier T-Mobile, while everyone else on AT&T, Sprint, etc, will be forced to continue using third-party visual voicemail apps (or there's a workaround with the Google Voice app, which offers visual voicemail, but not many use that).
Visual voicemail is an interface that presents a list of messages for playback and somtimes include a transcript of each message. Apple's iPhone was among the first smartphones to offer the feature built in.