If you've watched any number of spy movies and action blockbusters, you'll know that the ultra sneaky characters always use pre-paid cellphones for their secretive agendas. Also known as "burners," these disposable phones let you make and receive calls without having to worry about being tracked down. They're also popular with the bad guys in cops and robbers movies. Back in August, iPhone users got their own app for creating burner numbers. Now Android users can do it too.
Burner was released for Android this week along with an update to the iOS version. Similar to the iPhone version of the application, users can buy in-app credits to create their own temporary phone numbers to be used for sending and receiving texts or calls. Letting you make or receive calls without revealing your actual phone number, the app gives you an expiration date for the number (which can be extended with additional credits) and you can also 'burn' or destroy the number immediately after you're done with it. New features for the iPhone version of the app include customizable voicemail greetings; the ability to manage call history by starring, renaming or hiding conversations; improved notifications of in-bound calls, missed calls, and voicemails and other enhancements. Users can also refer Burner to friends to earn credits for their account.
While you or I might immediately think of spy or cop movies when the conversation turns to burner phone or numbers, Ad Hoc Labs, the company behind the app, highlights another use for the application: the company talks a lot about Burner being used for those who want to maintain their privacy when dealing with strangers. The company's Android announcement includes testimonials from someone who uses Burners for dealing with buying and selling stuff online via Craigslist as well as teachers who don't want their students to have their personal phone number.
The app costs $1.99, which will net you enough credits for one Burner number. After that, you'll have to purchase more credits to buy more numbers.