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4G VoiP tablet instead of Cell Phone?
April 1, 2011 11:06 AM   Subscribe

My T-Mobile contract expires in a couple months, and I'm considering ditching smartphones entirely and getting a tablet, instead. Anyone have any experience with this? Especially VoIP experience.

I have a few months to see what happens, but right now it looks like I might get a Dell Streak, no voice plan, and the $50 unlimited data plan (which is a non-contract plan).

(I know the Streak isn't as fancy as, say, the Xoom... or the G-Slate that can shoot 3D movies!?!? but it is small enough to fit in my pocket, and they are not).

My primary question is whether I'll miss the voice plan. Currently I just call, you know, pizza delivery folks and my mother once a week (awwww!) so I don't use it often. However, if I switched over to Skype or Google Voice or something, would the pizza guy still be able to get in touch reliably? Would my dear mother get an earful of static?

Oh, and is there a VoiP solution for text messaging? I'd hate to miss out on that...

Let me know if there are other obvious problems with this idea, as well--it really hadn't occurred to me until I saw the tablet in the store today.

(Other unknowns--there's no reason why the Streak shouldn't update to Honeycomb... but I guess it might not. And, of course, I'd be dealing with AT&T, so there's that, although I wouldn't have a contract).
posted by Squid Voltaire to Technology (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was thinking the exact same thing last night (but with an iPad 2). Even if it technically is feasible, my sticking point is going out to a concert, say--it's easy to have a phone in your pocket, but carrying a tablet around seems like a hassle.

The tweak I was thinking of was getting a cheap burner as a backup phone in addition to the tablet. There's a cheap ATT plan, I think, that charges you $2 only on the days you use the phone, and then all your calls and texts are unlimited for that day (don't know whether it's per calendar day or 24 hours). Give out your VOIP or google voice number on the tablet, but if you have to leave the tablet at home, take the cheap handset.

I'd be curious to hear if anyone actually is doing this.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:12 AM on April 1, 2011


There's a cheap ATT plan, I think, that charges you $2 only on the days you use the phone, and then all your calls and texts are unlimited for that day (don't know whether it's per calendar day or 24 hours).

Check the details on those plans. A few years ago, my stepdad and my brother bought a GoPhone (ATT's prepaid service) for my mom with the idea that she'd really only use it for "emergencies" (ie, AAA, etc.) but she didn't use the minutes nor re-upped in time and they deactivated the SIM. It really wasn't that much cheaper than the cheapest month-to-month/contract plan because of the constant need to re-up the account.
posted by MikeKD at 11:23 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


google voice covers texting.
posted by QIbHom at 11:51 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Haddock--
Well, that's why I was looking at the Streak--it's 8" x 5" x .5", so it's smaller than my nook. It would be like taking a thin paperback.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 12:20 PM on April 1, 2011


Google voice texting is awesome. I use it on the iPad all the time.
posted by monkeymadness at 12:27 PM on April 1, 2011


Have you looked at the VOIP options? Skype for Android requires Wifi for US calling.

Also I'm not sure if you can dial via a Google Voice number with Skype or any of the other VOIP apps.
posted by wongcorgi at 4:46 PM on April 1, 2011


Just FYI, the link to T-Mobile data plans from the Dell Streak page says $50/month buys you either 3 or 5 GB, not unlimited bandwidth.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:42 PM on June 21, 2011


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