Sprint announced today that it’s rolling out an enhanced visual voicemail feature to select Android devices that introduces avatars for “personalized voice messages that feature talking characters (including animals, aliens, zombies and sock puppets), scenic backgrounds and voice effects.” The feature will also be available to Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA customers.

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Built using award-winning animation software from Smith Micro (NASDAQ:SMSI), the new service, available to Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA customers with select Android smartphones and Visual Voicemail, offers a wide range of content from world-renowned digital artists, allowing users to express themselves through multiple personas. The launch will include 12 free Avatars and 12 free backgrounds. The service allows customers to use Visual Voicemail to record and send animated messages with unique characters, backgrounds and voice effects.

Sprint also said it will be updating its library of characters and backgrounds for the feature with both free and paid content for users to download. The carrier also hopes users share the avatar messages with even users that don’t have access to the feature via voicemail, email, SMS, or posted to Facebook. Users without the feature will get a text message with a link to view the avatar message online. You can check out a video example of how the avatars look here

Users with supported Android phones will soon receive a notification (this month or next) to upgrade to the new visual voicemail app. Supported devices include: Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA customers with Samsung Galaxy S® 5 and Samsung Galaxy S® 3, and to Sprint customers with Samsung Galaxy S® 4, Samsung Galaxy Note® 2, HTC EVO 4G LTE and HTC One®. Other Android devices, both prepaid and postpaid, Ice Cream Sandwich and above, will be eligible for the update beginning mid-September.

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