Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Smart Phone on the Cheap

I think every senior should carry a smart cell phone but not need to pay the exorbitant monthly fees for way less than satisfactory digital service.

High fees do not guarantee good performance. Very often I cannot find a nearby 3g or 4g tower or even service at all. Two Android phones (a Motorola Cliq and a Samsung Behold) have been just plain terribly sluggish as compared to the iPhone, which has had poor service from ATT). All in all, a complete waste of time and money,

So, what to do? I don’t shy away from what talking about what seniors can do to avoid problems when they need help. Here goes.

A way to avoid expense and trouble is to have a cheap throw away phone and an iPod Touch with no monthly fee and the new Talkatone app.

The Apple iTouch is just like an iPhone except no monthly fee. The latest 4g Touch will work best but there are work-arounds for older Touches. The new Touch costs about $230.

Talkatone works over Wifi only, which is generally available in built-up areas. The throwaway is for when you need help out in the country, away from Wifi, or for 911 calls.

Talkatone is free.

I have it configured so that my wife Doris has my old Touch, which cannot stay on all the time to receive calls but gets messages when she starts Talkatone.

You need Google Voice to use Talkatone, also free. With Google Voice, your free phone numbers are not only way of routing calls to ANY phone, but simply a free way to receive and initiate calls to other phones or computers.

For an older Touch, I have it so that calling the new number reaches computer, home phone and Touch all at once. Messages can be text or voice phone and are automatically transcribed from voice to text and emailed.

I will be working on auto announcing EMails on the old Touch. The Pushmail app is said to accomplish that for $4.99.

Here is how to do the above:

Set up Google chat. Get new phone numbers from Google Voice (search).

Forward calls to Google Chat (in GV settings), along with any other phones you would like to ring. My calls simultaneously ring on all my phones from Google Voice.

Download Talkatone app (search) on Touch(es). Log in as instructed. That’s it.

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