Google Voice phone calls over wi-fi using android 2.2 cell phone.
July 2, 2012 1:19 AM   Subscribe

Seriously considering buying Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V (android 2.2) phone tomorrow, would/will be my first foray into any phone even beginning to resemble smart. My main question: how difficult is this phone to set up to use Google Voice telephone number over wi-fi, calls in-bound and out.

I'm assuming that this can be done and likely it's easy-peasy but I've not done it, maybe you have.

The plan I want to use on this Virgin Mobile phone has unlimited text, email, data and web but only 300 minutes of talk time, and no off-prime minutes -- 300 minutes talk, total, period.

I've been with Sprint since the dawn of time, I'm been used to having 500 minutes, plus free nights/weekends after seven PM. Mostly I don't use all the minutes but it's been nice to know they're there.

Virgin is closing these out for $60 and no contract (having been married to sprint these long years, no contract looks mighty fine.) I've nosed around these past months, seems people have had good luck with this phone, and for my purposes I suspect it'll be fine, only question is making calls in/out using GVoice. I'm all the time in reach of wi-fi, up to and including a fast hot-spot that's got good coverage most everywhere I go

Other than this issue, this calls over wifi thing? I don't know -- anything which you might know about this switch I'm contemplating, sprint to virgin, dumb-phone to sortof smart phone, I'd love to hear it.

posted by dancestoblue to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Groove IP Lite has worked for me. You may find the non-lite version easier and peasier, though.
posted by Orb2069 at 4:58 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Google voice does not do wifi natively. Google voice is really more of a phone management system than a phone alternative; you make calls from your google voice number but using your carrier's minutes. There are a number of free-ish ip phones that work with gvoice, but I have experience with none of them.

I do however have an optimus V with that plan, and use google voice. Setting it up to use google voice as a management system was in fact easy-peasy; it's basically just an alternative app to use for phone calls (ish, it appears to be mostly the same app? it's like if you picked a browser, except they were the same browser with different chrome).

300 minutes has been more than enough for me, I spend amazingly little time on the phone.
posted by contrarian at 5:40 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have this phone, and had this plan in mind. I average 200-500 minutes a month on the phone. Ten dollars more a month boosts you to 1200 minutes, and if you ever have a conversation on your cell phone by accident and find yourself hitting the 300 minute mark, you will have to pay another 35 dollars or wait until your next billing cycle (or else you can't make or receive phone calls or texts). I say pony up the extra ten dollars for the 1200 minute plan - google voice didn't work that way for me as far as the calls over wifi was concerned. Just forward your google voice number to this phone is all, and maybe do the voicemail integration thing. It's probably still cheaper than your old sprint plan.

That said - this is an ok phone for how little it costs, but it is slow! Be sure to get a decent sized microsd card, and install the apps to sd togram. Don't count on playing games on this thing, but it's alright for interney, navigation, email, and texts. Speaking of typing, Swype is pretty buggy and I would recommend paying for and installing Swiftkey X. The built in music player sucks and often freezes, so I wiuld recommend installing Winamp. If you memail me, I can send you info on rooting that specific phone and removing junk programs, etc.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:20 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I suggest the 1200 minute plan also because the minutes you talk on the phone during nights and weekends that you weren't seeing on your sprint will definitely be showing up on your virgin mobile phone, and I don't know about you, but I definitely talk more on nights and weekends. Download a free app called minute checker, it'll automatically tell you where you are on quota during phone calls.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:24 AM on July 2, 2012

Oh - Forgot to actually answer the question. Setting up GrooveIP is username-and-password simple. Voice quality depends on your router/network -In my experience, if you get clear skype, GrooveIP should work for OK you. The main difference between the lite and full app is that the full app is ad-free and has better phone integration.
posted by Orb2069 at 7:33 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can't comment on the Google Voice question, but I feel as an owner of that exact phone on that exact plan I gotta let you know that it is hella slow.

If understand that you probably don't want to throw any more money at this than you have to, that's why I have this phone too, but if you get it expect to wait a couple seconds between telling the phone to do something and it doing it and then several more seconds if that something requires downloading anything.
posted by cirrostratus at 8:38 AM on July 2, 2012

Another thing to research, if this setup will be your primary internet device, is wheather it's flash-enabled and if tethering is required to connect with your computer. I have the Optimus phone with Sprint and will be trading it for something else as soon as possible. If you pick this one, you should plan on rooting it and installing non-factory software.
posted by mightshould at 10:21 AM on July 2, 2012

Inbound is trivial, just forward as others have said. Outbound won't work unless you have a landline or other phone with unlimited incoming calls. Then you can go to the Google voice site and dial from there, which will cause your phone to ring. It's doable but kind of a pain.

You can use Skype over WiFi, but you've got to pay a few cents a minute for SkypeOut. I think you can set up Skype to show your Google Voice number as the caller ID, but I'm not sure.

The Optimus V is an old 2.2 Android phone, I think you will find it a poor value compared to a newer, well-rated phone like the $150 Optimus Elite. The $200 HTC One V has Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) which means a much better browser and more feature updates over time. I have the Optimus V, but have not replaced it because I'm grandfathered in to a super-cheap $25/mo plan, but I would never choose it today. For one, it has an extremely limited internal memory that makes it difficult to install many apps. I ended up un-installing Facebook and GMail because they were using too much memory and making the phone unusable. This is less than ideal because it is constantly nagging me to update those apps. It is possible to update the Android OS, but unless you are very technical (and I'm a programmer) I really don't recommend doing it yourself.
posted by wnissen at 3:56 PM on July 2, 2012

This phone was my first foray into the "smart" category as well and over the past year it's worked pretty well for me. It is not particularly peppy, but suffices for my checking email, light web browsing, and a few apps. (On preview, wnissen makes a good point about being behind on the operating system. That's worth considering.)

I use Google Voice primarily for texting, but the phone in/out seems to function fine. I'm occasionally in a building with no cell reception but yes wi-fi and I successfully receive texts.

oceanjesse: Speaking of typing, Swype is pretty buggy and I would recommend paying for and installing Swiftkey X.
Seconded. Swype was nifty but I found SwiftKey to be much less error-prone.
posted by Mr Yak at 4:06 PM on July 2, 2012

Best answer: These answers are all really complicated. I am currently doing the exact thing you're looking to do with my Google Voice the number. It's really simple: Groove IP. Just get it from the Play store (I've never used the free version but I'm quite happy with the paid), sign into Google Voice and forward calls to Ghat, and then sign in to the Groove IP with your voice account. Done: you're making calls over wifi.

I've got the LG Optimus T which is the basically identical GSM version of your phone. It's no Galaxy Nexus or whatever but it's a sweet little smartphone. I'd definitely recommend rooting and installing a custom ROM (activate with Virgin Mobile first) to get the most out of it. CyanogenMod is easy to get up and running and once you've got that you've got an easy pathway to sweeter ROMs (I'm running Ice Cream Sandwich on this thing now). If you're up for it XDA forums will be your friend.
posted by Tha Race Card at 12:10 PM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Groove IP for the win. Does exactly what I'd hoped it would do and does it well. Great software.

I went ahead and bought the full version, both to support them and also to keep my sanity -- AdBlock and no-scrip have spoiled me, I just can't stand ads, and I will gladly pay someone five bucks to keep me from having to do so.

Anyone reading this who is considering setting up Groove IP, let me save you a headache, or it was damn sure a headache for me -- when logging in to Google Voice through Groove IP, you do not use your regular google account password but rather an application specific password, which google will gen for you, once you figure out that you need it. Nowhere in any help screen did I see it, it was unreal frustrating, lots of time with Virgin support -- and they of course know nothing about it, they tried to help but we were just drawing blanks.


I followed a few peoples advice here and did not go with the phone I originally intended to go with (LG Optimus V) but rather with the LG Optimus Elite, which is not state of the art but apparently a lot closer to it than the V.

I was particularly swayed toward the Elite because 1) it was 20% off, $130, $140 w/taxes, out the door 2) there is a special offer on this phone, to induce you (me) to use Google wallet, so long as I've registered with them in the first week I'm given $25 credit, which can be used at lots of stores, not just for mp3 or movie rentals or whatever and 3) another special offer for people buying any LG phone or tablet before the end of the year, 50 gig of free cloud storage on, and this free 50 gig good until goes out of business.

That 50 gig of storage sells for $20 a month; I have TONS of free cloud storage and do not need more; I'm thinking I can probably sell the forever 50 gig account for at least a hundred bucks, probably more -- we'll see. Craiglist is my friend. If I were to be able to sell it like that, it would put me into this phone for free. Fun fun fun.


It's a sweet phone -- I'm totally lost, trying to figure out this whole new world but I'm having fun, too; seems every menu opens out to another world, more flexibility. I'm not sure what all apps I'll want, going to go slow, figure it out as I go. I do like email on my phone, nice change, and the thing about my telling it where I want to go and it giving me step by step directions -- ridiculously cool. Likely I'll use another AskMe in a month or two, asking what apps I really would want, what apps people really love.

Thank you everybody for your helpful answers and guidance to a smart phone newb.



wnissen I have the Optimus V, but have not replaced it because I'm grandfathered in to a super-cheap $25/mo plan, but I would never choose it today.
I've read tons about Virgin Mobile on tons of forums these past weeks, many people have been able to use a different phone and keep that $25 plan because the phone was released by Virgin prior to the change in rates. Many cust svc reps say "No no no no" and not (only) because they don't want to do it but many of them just truly don't know that it can be done, and they're not being told, either. But the fact is that it's right here on Virgin's website, clear as can be. Look into this, if it interests you at all; many people have been able to make the change to different phones, not the latest and greatest but maybe better than the LG Optimus V. If the cust svc rep says no, hang up and get another one, rinse repeat until success.
Below are the phones that can be used with your acct without changing the cost, as per the Virgin Mobile page linked above:
Blackberry Curve 8530
HTC Wildfire S
LG Optimus Slider
LG Optimus V
Motorola Triumph
Virgin Mobile Venture
posted by dancestoblue at 9:43 PM on July 10, 2012

Response by poster: Oh, and 300 minutes looks like it's going to be WAY more than enough -- I burned 53 minutes while trying to find my way around, first couple of days, while setting up Groove IP and learning the ropes, etc and etc. But I've not burned but one minute since -- making calls, taking calls, whatever. It's very cool.
posted by dancestoblue at 9:49 PM on July 10, 2012

Response by poster: Last, I promise:

Groove IP will use either a wifi connection or the 3G connection on my phone. As far as I know, I am not able to direct it to use one or the other first but I guess it doesn't matter anyways, either way is free and seems to work fine.


The Elite is apparently the only smart phone Virgin offers which cannot be set up as a hot spot, IE using the 3G signal to wirelessly connect with my laptop or whatever, which could then cruise the net.

But I've read that it can be connected to said laptop using a USB line and works fine that way, just not wireless. I don't know, yet, and expect I'd only find out as an exercise in getting to know how to do it, as I have a great hot spot.
posted by dancestoblue at 10:17 PM on July 10, 2012

I can confirm that, once rooted, the Optimus V is a pretty decent phone. The stock software is an embarrassment.
posted by wnissen at 11:01 PM on August 7, 2012

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