I have disabled GV sms forwarding and instead forward to Gmail and use the mail-to-sms conversion for my GV contacts. This allows for near-instand GV text since the Gmail pushes instead of waiting for GV 5 minute refresh rate.
All of my fussy and/or Verizon contacts I still use Handcent
This sounds cool. How do you do this?
sorry man, didn't see this.
It's all accounted for in GV. Go to GV and under "settings > Voicemail & SMS" makes sure that SMS forwarding to email is set (with your proper Gmail addy showing). Then in your Gmail (this is just what I do for convenience).....make a new folder called "SMS. The under settings create a filter so that an email with Subject containing "sms" get the "SMS label applied.
Now when you get an SMS via GV it will get forwarded to Gmail which will do a fairly instant push to your phone. NOTE that you will likely also get a GV notification (eventually) as well as a Handcent/Chomp/native SMS notification as well. Personally I turned off ALL GV notifications, so that's done. As for Handcent I have to leave these on cuz I have not yet moved everyone over to my GV number. But I simply check that couple times a day.
Now in your phone Gmail or on your computer you can open the GV/Gmail (which is already converted by Google) and simply reply to the sender. When your reply is sent it will go out as SMS but will leave you with a Gmail "conversation showing the whole thread of the conversation. Simply click "Archive" and this will leave the Gmail in your SMS folder and clear out your Inbox.
This probably sounds horrid - sorry for the rush response. But really it works well. I just wish Google would hurry and implement MMS thru GV.