gDial Pro brings Google Voice to Palm WebOS

Review: gDial Pro brings Google Voice to the Palm without much hassle.

gDial Pro on Palm Pre

Not long ago, my colleague Rafe Needleman ranked a handful of native Google Voice applications for mobile phones, declaring Google's own Google Voice app for Android phones the winner. No big surprise there, as Google owns both the voice service and the mobile operating system, and can snugly fit the Google Voice dialing option into the native dialer. Let's throw another app into the mix, this time it's a Palm WebOS app called gDial Pro.

The free gDial Pro Google Voice client has been around in a homebrew version for a while (a version you can install outside of the App Catalog environment,) and recently became available in Palm's App Catalog. It is a glossy, dark-themed app that, rather than replicate the in-box design of Google's Android app, concentrates on outgoing calls and texts, in addition to a communication history.

gDial Pro opens to a dialpad view where you can start dialing a number, select a contact from the phone's address book, or begin typing a name on the keypad to pull up Google Voice contacts. The contacts' names and numbers won't automatically transfer into the Palm's native address book (for that you're better off syncing the Palm with your Google account), but the app integrates them into WebOS's universal search.

Back in gDial Pro, a navigation ribbon on the bottom jumps you to the SMS view; the in-box where you can sort by SMS, voice mail, and missed communications; and to your favorites. We especially like the Web view, which opens the mobile online version of Google Voice so you can refer back to it from time to time.

It's true that gDial Pro doesn't have the tight integration that Google's Android app has. Like most alternatives, it requires using its own dialpad to engage the Google Voice service; otherwise, you'll be going through the carrier. However, It does, make things simpler by offering a smoother connection via the optional Web dial feature. The Web dialing feature operates over Wi-Fi or the carrier's data connection. Like dialing over a voice connection, the Web dial method also prompts Google Voice to call your phone to connect to the service, but it's less clunky. Voice dialing uses Google Voice's automated-attendant voice mail system to place calls. Unfortunately, Web dialing won't work if you're in an area with weak data signal or if you're roaming without a data agreement--in these cases, you'll have to use the alternative method to place calls with Google Voice.

While the dialer isn't as seamless as Google's Android app, gDial Pro's Google Voice client is the best choice for Palm WebOS device owners. Another free Google Voice app, p2GoogleVoice, challenges gDial Pro from both the homebrew side and from the App Catalog, but without Web dial or an in-box, it only originates calls and texts. Until Google releases an official Google Voice application for Palm WebOS, gDial Pro is your best choice.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.