I had a dream. About cellular networks. Now I know I’m ill for sure. Or maybe it’s because I’ve been shopping around for alternatives to my current telecommunications arrangements.
In the Grasp of Cellular: Not
Perhaps it was a reaction to having had a dream about something as commercial and commoditized as cellular phone service. I started to look for for a way to eliminate cellular service from my life entirely. I knew it wouldn’t be simple, but if I could do it fast, my concern about cellular service, costs, contracts, etc. would be history and I could rid my dreams of this commercial intrusion into my peace. The flip side of the coin is that like most people who work, I need to remain in contact, so simply unplugging is not an option.
I found my solution in the iPhone:not. Also known as the iPod Touch. Steve Jobs had died, and so I didn’t have to worry any longer about getting some of his bad karma by purchasing one of his company’s products. The iPhone is basically an iPod touch with the addition of the cellular circuitry, a bit more memory to handle the overhead, and a slightly higher-rez camera. The iPod Touch is slimmer, more lightweight, and when I show it off and tell people it’s an iPhone 5, they believe it. So much for the iPhone being revolutionary. But then, your mom has one so what do you expect? Conversely, the Touch is exactly what I wanted; an iPhone without the cellular. But can you make phone calls on the Touch? Absolutely, yes. The newer Touch models also support Bluetooth, so you can use an earpiece (but Skype doesn’t support Bluetooth!) if you want to.
I needed a phone number, and a way to shuffle my calls around in case my Touch is out of WiFi range. Google Voice to the rescue! I got a Google number.
Here are the remainder of the components I assembled together:
- Virgin Mobile pre-paid WiFi cellular hotspot, for when no WiFi is available
- Google Voice account
- Bluetooth Headset
- The following iPod Touch Apps (most are free):
- Google Voice (very limited; requires the others…)
- GV Connect (handle multiple #’s for personal, business, etc.) ($)
- Whistle (for an additional phone #)
- Skype (doesn’t support Bluetooth!)
This is not intended to be a how-to article. Nor exhaustive. There are many other apps that support similar functionality; the above are the ones I chose and am using at this writing.
I’m an old fart. I suspect many younger folks are doing this also. Google may be breeding a whole new generation of kids who use Google instead of cellular for phone service. If I were a kid dependent on mom and dad for a cell phone, I’d surely dump it in favor of this and take control of my communications without the cost.
No contracts, no per-minute rate. No cellphone tracking.