Call on line 2! Eight ways to add a second line to your smartphone

Whether you're running a business or just looking to improve your BYOD situation, there's an app that can help.

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Can you imagine someone crazy enough to carry around two smartphones? That’s two phones to keep charged, two phones to keep track of, two phones to stow in your pocket, purse or carry-on. Madness!

Actually, for many it’s not a question of sanity; it’s a matter of necessity. Perhaps your company issued you a phone for business purposes but won’t let you use it for personal calls. Or you’ve started your own business and need a dedicated line. Whatever the case, juggling two phones feels like a special form of torture — and let’s not overlook the expense.

Good news: Thanks to a growing roster of apps, one smartphone can have two separate and distinct phone lines. (Possibly even more than two.) You keep your current number, then add a second one (new or ported, your choice) that's strictly for business. When you want to place an outgoing call, you use an app similar to your phone's native dialer. Incoming calls typically have a distinctive ring (and often caller ID as well) so you can tell they're business-related.

You can also send and receive text messages via that number, and in some cases add extras like auto-attendants and voicemail transcription.

This is great stuff, not just for small-business owners, but also for individuals. For example, many employers are willing to cover the cost of a smartphone and monthly plan, but only as long as you work there. That means if you leave or get fired, you lose your mobile number. If you're using an app-powered second line as your personal number, though, that number can stay with you as you move from one phone to another.

[ Further reading: Chat happens: Your guide to 8 group-chat services ]

So, what does a second line cost? Considerably less than a second phone. I tested a variety of services — BusinessCall, eVoice, Flyp, GoDaddy SmartLine, Google Voice, Grasshopper, Line2 and Sideline — with prices ranging from free to $89 per month. The latter is a rarity; most individual and small-business users can expect to pay $10 to $15, although the lone freebie option — Google Voice — can get the job done if you're willing to accept a few compromises.

Thankfully, save for a few setup hiccups here or minor operational hassles there, in my tests all eight of these services delivered on their promise of a functional, useful second line.

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