Thursday, January 8, 2015

Guide to FREE Wifi-Phone!

Just a quick guide/advice on going with a wifi only smartphone setup.

For many paying $50-100 for a phone plan is a HUGE chunk of their budget, one that is not necessary at all. I at first was a bit hesitant of getting rid of my always on data plan, enabling me to call anywhere, text anywhere and look up random stuff on the internet anywhere. But after being on my Droid X with wifi for almost a year now, I couldn't be happier.

 The steps:

1.) Acquire smartphone, Android preferred(they are more open source, and easier to root I believe. Plus I am not a fan of Apple's propriety BS). With all the new fangled giant phones coming out, you can probably score used first and second generation phones(like my Droid X) for very cheap. And rather than just getting a "dumbphone" that might be cheaper to buy initially, the data plan will hurt you in long run.   A smartphone allows waaaaaay more options for use; it's a mini-pc with a phone/camera/gps/e-Reader/flashlight etc etc. The gps actually can use downloadable offline maps for navigation as well, and of course as long as you  have wifi it functions just like all those phones with expensive data plans.

2.) Get a Google Voice account. This will enable you to get texts and voicemails, the latter will be transcribed as a bonus, though they are usually hilariously mistranslated like Mad Libs You can check and send all messages via your gmail account too! A few months ago they dropped the ability to make outgoing calls, so I use another app for that, GrooveIP, that also receives voicemail if you wish, but I just keep my Google Voice as my text/voice mail depository to keep track better.

3.) Let people know ahead of time what your plans are and that you are wifi-only. It's akin to having an old phone at home; checking messages later, having certain windows of availability for talking etc. I find it really liberating to not always have this constant connection to the data stream. And there are PLENTY of wifi hotspots, nearly every home has it, cafes, restaurants etc. You can even be outside the establishment and pickup on usable signals, just as I had to do the other day to get picked up from Greyhound. I walked a few blocks down to a sandwich shop that had "FREE WIFI" emblazoned on the window and voila, contacted my data cell plan user to come pick me up.

The main issue I have seen is just that people used to having always on data is that they get so used to that they use it as a crutch. Lost? GPS. Can't find your friend/didn't coordinate before hand. Text/Call. And if worst comes to shove and you have to use a phone outside of wifi, 99% of people have an actual data plan phone with them you could ask to borrow. Ideally more people would switch to this and the availability for free wifi everywhere would be in more demand, as proposed by several industry leaders. Even PDX has tossed the idea around for this city-wide access.

This video does a good job of breaking it down.

1 comment:

  1. Your sister quit being vegan for health reasons? Did I understand that right?