These days, messaging apps are a dime a dozen, and word of any new releases are sure to induce some groans and questions. Particularly: why? Is it even possible to distinguish oneself from the gaggle of text apps available today?

Handmark, a veteran developer and distributor of mobile content, thinks so. A few weeks ago, they released Powow, a one-to-one and group texting app that leverages a smartphone's native messaging capability, eschewing the typical IP-based construction of other more popular alternatives like Whatsapp and GroupMe. Handmark says it aims to be as ubiquitous on Android as iMessage is on iOS.

It's true, the app does come with some of the same features that these established apps — notably Handcent and GO SMS Pro — already flaunt. But the way Powow implements them makes it a pretty attractive option.

First off, the app's ZipIt feature lets you mute people in their contacts list so you don't receive their updates, or blacklist them to silence the targeted contacts completely. Powow also allows you to mark chosen contacts as a "favorite," which allows you to filter out messages from people who aren't that important to you.

As with other Android apps, Powow comes with a dedicated widget for your home screen for instant texting, pop-up notifications and smileys. All of this is contained in a sleek user interface and streamlined user experience.

For power texters interested in group chatting, filtering contacts and a revamped UI, Powow is worth a look. Otherwise, ascetics would probably rather stick to the stock messaging app within Android anyway.

Powow is free and available from Google Play right now.