With mobile phones steadily evolving into smart phones the days of prepaid units may one day slip away from us.  However, a new app called Burner keeps the tradition of making and receiving anonymous phone calls alive on your regular smart phone.

The app is named after a slang term for a cheap prepaid mobile phone that could be untraceably used in illegal dealings.  Once the job is done, you can just toss the burner in a dumpster severing all connection with that number.  This app saves the trouble of getting and disposing of a handset by putting the burner inside your iPhone side by side with your regular service. Yet this app surely can be used for legal purposes too… right?

The app is very simple to use.  Just tap “Create Burner,” fill in some basic info and the app generates a new number for you to use in voice calls or SMS.  Once the number ceases to be useful, just tap “Burn” and it disappears forever.

The app costs US$1.99 and gives you a mini burner to start with (there are different tiers of burners to choose from). It has 20 minutes of voice service and 60 SMS messages. There are also ways to recharge your temporary number just like with the regular prepaids.  The Burner app uses a credit system to make payments.  At the moment this app isn’t available in Japan, but it’s early yet.

The big question is: Why would you need this service?  Clearly it’d be perfect for setting up drug deals or making prank phone calls, but I don’t think that’s what the developer’s intended.   There are tons of legal applications for this application like… um…

…Ah okay! It’s a great way to keep an extra layer of security to avoid nuisance calls.  Say you’re selling your special edition Domino’s Pizza Rolex but after it’s sold you don’t want to keep answering calls saying you already sold it.  Just use a burner number and after you make the sale everyone else just gets an “out of service” message.

Perhaps you met a guy but you don’t feel 100% comfortable with him yet.  A burner number could be a great way to avoid a number change if he turns out to be a stalker-type.  Heck you could even use it to sign up for sales promotions without having your original number put on some calling list.

Come to think of it, there are quite a few ways to make use of this app.  We’ll just have to wait a bit for this to come to our side of the Pacific.

Source: Irorio (Japanese)
Apple Store: Burner (Not Available in Japan)