There is a new mobile app called Shuffle that has a nifty little functionality that allows iPhone owners to make extra disposable phone numbers that can be used for calling or text messaging, and even receive voice mail.
Those familiar with this kind of functionality may be reminded of the Burner mobile app, which has been in use for some time now. But what makes Shuffle different is that it lets users set up email aliases that can forward email to their main personal inbox.
Having a single mobile phone that also serves as your personal mobile phone, work phone, and even home phone is quite common nowadays. But sometimes you have to draw a line somewhere in determining which phone numbers should be given to family and friends only, or to colleagues, or to clients.
This is where mobile apps like Shuffle come in. As opposed to sharing your personal phone number, you can just set up another one to serve as your phone number for conducting business. Now if a number you set up goes to the wrong hands (telemarketers, spammers), you can just delete the number, and nobody can ever call you or text you on via that number again. Another advantage of being able to set up disposable numbers is that it helps travelers create special contact information when they are visiting people they know out of state.
Of course, Shuffle takes another extra step by adding in support for email. Having email aliases is really useful, especially when you are posting on sites like, say, Craigslist, and you want to protect your privacy.
And unlike Burner which uses credits for setting prices, Shuffle charges in fixed amounts. A single disposable phone number equates to $1.99 a month, and then transactions are charged as follows: calls ($0.015 a minute for calls in from regular numbers; $0.05 a minute for calls out), text messages ($0.015 a text), Shuffle to Shuffle calls ($0.01 a minute), Shuffle to Shuffle texts (free), email aliases ($0.0075) per forwarded email. Sure, your costs could increase with heavy usage, but if you do not use it frequently, you will only pay for calls and text messages you made.
As of now, the Shuffle mobile app only works on the iOS platform, and is now available as a free download from iTunes. But Android users need not worry -- an Android version is currently being worked on.
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