Just like iPhone, there exist an app for Android based phones which allows you to reply or delete SMS without opening the native Messaging app. SMS Pop is a handy Android app which opens a small popup on your phone screen displaying the content of the message whenever you receive SMS from your friend.
You can download SMS Pop from Android Market for free. Once downloaded and installed, launch SMS Pop app and navigate to Notifications -> Default Notificaions and check Show a Popup button. SNS Pop also offers the ability to customize notifications on a per contact basis. When a new message comes in, SMS Popup first checks if a contact has a customized notification. If so, those settings are used, otherwise the default notifications are used.
Here are some screenshots of the SMS Popup in action:
On tapping the Reply button, you will see the following screen:
With SMS Popup, you can bypass the Android lock screen and reply to the received SMS. Once replied, SMS Popup will automatically lock your screen again. So, you don't need to unlock your phone and open the native messaging app to reply to the message.
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