Phoning needs to be available cheaply wherever you need it, especially for senior.
Tablets need to provide this capability and smartphones need to provide low cost.
Different tablets and different so-called apps provide different options.
I set about to examine them.
Skype, of course is the most widely used option, known primarily for video. However, it works well for just plain voice phoning over Internet. Calls are made using Skype names rather than numbers.
Skype costs $35 a year to phone outside internet to actual phone numbers. Getting a actual phone number for Skype to receive calls is much more expensive.
For actual limited Internet calling I have recently switched to Hangouts from Google, which works more smoothly for me than Skype. It is not available on all devices.
Whenever a device has a SIM card slot it can be made to work as a normal cell phone. Puretalk offers $5-10 plans to turn such a contract free tablet into a cellphone connected to cell towers.
Without a SIM card, devices can connect to the phone system through WiFi.
To send and receive such calls via the normal phone system, you need a normal phone number.
Talkatone provides such a number. There is a very small per minute fee for using it.
This app makes the. new Kindle Fire $100 6 inch phone sized tablet into a cell phone. That makes up for some of the limitations of this tablet. And you can't beat the price.
To phone away from WiFi, however, you also need a hotspot, such as from Freedompop and others. Such plans also start at about $5 a month.
Cheap phoning is also available from a modified Moto G phone from Republic Wireless.
Now, once you are using one or two of these options, in addition to your home landline phone, you need to be able to be able to receive your phonecalls anywhere.
For this purpose, I use Google Voice, which not only calls all my phones just from a single special phone number from Google, but also alerts me via email and records messages by both voice and text.
In summary, I get my calls wherever I am at a very low cost.