The following is the first few sections of a chapter from The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development, plus headings for the remaining major sections, to give you an idea about the content of the chapter.

Working With SMS

Oh, what a tangled web we weave

When first we practice to work with SMS on Android, Eve

(with apologies to Sir Walter Scott)

Android devices have had SMS capability since Android 1.0. However, from a programming standpoint, for years, SMS and Android were intensely frustrating. When the Android SDK was developed, some aspects of working with SMS were put into the SDK, while others were held back. This, of course, did not stop many an intrepid developer from working with the undocumented, unsupported SMS APIs, with varying degrees of success.

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth by developers, Google finally formalized a more complete SMS API in Android 4.4. However, this too has its issues, where some apps that worked fine with the undocumented API will now fail outright, in irreparable fashion, on Android 4.4+.

This chapter starts with the one thing you can do reasonably reliably across Android device versions – send an SMS, either directly or by invoking the user’s choice of SMS client. The chapter then examines how to monitor or receive SMS messages (both pre-4.4 and 4.4+) and the SMS-related ContentProvider (both pre-4.4 and 4.4+).


Understanding this chapter requires that you have read the core chapters, particularly the chapters on broadcast Intents. One of the samples uses the ContactsContract provider, so reading that chapter will help you understand that particular sample.

Sending Out an SOS, Give or Take a Letter

The preview of this section is off trying to sweet-talk the Khaleesi into providing us with a dragon.

Monitoring and Receiving SMS

The preview of this section was abducted by space aliens.

The SMS Inbox

The preview of this section was eaten by a grue.

Asking to Change the Default

The preview of this section was abducted by space aliens.

SMS and the Emulator

The preview of this section is in an invisible, microscopic font.

SMS Tokens

The preview of this section was whisked away by a shark-infested tornado.