Sometimes you just need a temporary, disposable phone number. Why? Maybe you’re not too sure about that dude you just met, but you want to give him a chance. Maybe you don’t want weirdos from Craigslist calling you once your couch is gone. There are all sorts of use cases, some less shady than others — and hey, I ain’t judgin’.
Back in August of last year, an app called Burner came along that popularized the concept of disposable numbers at the push of a button. After 9 months as an iOS-only app, Burner is today launching on Android.
For the uninitiated, here’s how it works: You open the app. You push the “Create Burner” button. You pick an area code and choose which number your new burner should forward to. Click another button, and you’re done — you’ve now got a new, secondary phone number that connects to your real number, and it can be used to send and receive both calls and texts. When you’re done, you just trash the number and forget about it.
The free-to-download Burner app comes with one free Burner number, but the pricing gets a bit wonky after that. At its most basic level, 2 bucks gets you 3 credits, which is good for a “Mini Burner” — a number that lasts 7 days, 20 voice minutes, or 60 texts, whichever comes first.
While Burner was the first app to really strike oil with this concept, it’s not the first of its kind on Android. Hushed — an app which Burner’s CEO actually called out in our comments for being too similar to their app — launched on Android back in January before rolling out on iOS a few months later.
It’s important to note that while apps like Burner offer user-to-user anonymity, that doesn’t mean it’s gonna hide you from the heavy backhand of the law. Burner is a legally operated U.S. business, after all; if the police come a-knockin’ with subpoena in hand, they’ll turn over your data. So don’t do anything dumb.
I asked Ad Hoc, the company behind Burner, for some stats (like how many Burners they’d sold so far), but they’re keeping those numbers close to the chest. I’ve heard from multiple sources that the team has been making money hand over fist — which makes sense, given that Burner has been sitting in the Top 10 chart for utilities in the iOS App Store for months now.
Speaking of iOS, the company also updated their iOS app this morning. They’ve improved notifications to make it more obvious when you’ve got a missed call or voicemail, added better call history management, and now allow you to customize your voicemail greeting.
Burner is backed by 500 Startups, David Cohen, and a bunch of other angel investors.
While Burner plans to launch the Android app today, it hadn’t hit the Play Store at the time of publishing. I’ll update this article with a link as soon as I notice the app go live. Update: Here’s the Google Play link
Now, go! Go and use this for totally legit and not at all shady purposes.