Texting on a tablet
September 5, 2012 8:12 AM   Subscribe

Can I send and receive text messages with my tablet using the number associated with a feature (i.e. not smart) phone?

My smartphone was lost and/or stolen a couple of weeks ago, and at this point I've given up on seeing it again. Sadly I didn't have insurance on the thing, so I don't qualify for any kind of free or cheap replacement from Verizon – thus, I'm trying to make do with what I have on-hand until the contract runs out next year. So far, that's meant using an old feature phone for calls and the Nexus 7 I bought a couple of months ago for apps, games, Internet . . . Androidy things. It's worked out pretty well except for text messages – I am far too used to typing on a full keyboard now to go back to typing entire sentences on a ten-digit keypad. I'm looking for ways to port that functionality to the Nexus, but all I've found are apps that allow text messaging from a tablet with the help of a companion app installed on a smartphone. Is there any way to do this with a tablet and a feature phone?

(The easy way out would be to get a used/refurb feature phone with a keyboard, but I'm trying to wrangle full functionality without new hardware if possible)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not using that number, no. You can send texts using Google Voice, but they'll have your Google Voice number, not your phone's number. (However, you could have reply SMSs forwarded to your cell phone.) Similarly, most carriers have e-mail SMS gateways, but the recipient will see the e-mail gateway's address, not your phone number. AOL Instant Messenger also still has an SMS gateway, I believe (similar caveat applies).
posted by kindall at 8:21 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

You could port your number to google voice, and then use your tablet to access google voice directly over wifi. There are downsides to this though - for instance, any MMS you receive will be forwarded to your email, but you'll no longer receive them on your phone.
posted by kickingtheground at 8:23 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

My (UK) mobile provider lets me log into their website and send "web texts", that is I can send texts via the website which are sent as if my phone is sending them. You can't read received texts through the website though, those still just go to the phone as normal. Maybe Verizon offers something like that?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:27 AM on September 5, 2012

Verizon's web text (vtext.com) service does let you send texts from your number. But only within the Verizon Wireless network.
posted by zinon at 8:38 AM on September 5, 2012

Response by poster: Vtext also cuts into the already-meager character limit with header info and truncates excess letters without warning rather than bridging the message into a second text. Usable but not optimal, is my impression. Registering a new number for texts with Google Voice could be a possibility; for that matter, is it possible to port a number just for text/media messaging purposes, and leave the voice where it is?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:43 AM on September 5, 2012

is it possible to port a number just for text/media messaging purposes, and leave the voice where it is?

No, but you could port the number to Google Voice, get a new number for your cell phone, and forward your Google Voice calls to the new cell number.

When you need to make a call from the cell phone, however, your new number would show up on the callee's Caller ID. To avoid this, you'd have to call your Google Voice number from your cell phone and make the call through that. Or you could call from the tablet. Either is free in the US and Canada.
posted by kindall at 10:37 AM on September 7, 2012

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