Monday, September 20, 2010

We got free phones!!!! (Well, kinda)

So Michelle and I recently got iPod touch's with a couple ideas in mind. One of them being to sync our calendars to wirelessly and stay abreast of each others schedules. Using the built in calendar app, and syncing it to a already-in-use Google Calendar, we set it up quite nicely. The second purpose was to try and finagle a free internet phone (VoIP, Voice over IP) that ran through the iPod touch so we could make phone calls, from the iPod, for free, anywhere there was WiFi. The idea behind it is feasible enough. There are many VoIP providers on the internet, many of which have a certain number of free minutes per week or month, but we wanted the best one.

Michelle has an account through a company called Gizmo5 that allows her unlimited calls to Internet/Computer based phone numbers. This includes Google Voice, a free forwarding number google set up to connect incoming calls to any phone numbers you may have. It also works for outgoing calls by calling the number you want to call FROM first and then calls the number you are trying to reach after you pick up. So through Google Voice, you could use the Gizmo5 number to make unlimited free phone calls, so long as you have access to the Gizmo5 number from your iPod. Unfortunately there is no built in microphone for 3rd generation iPod touch's and so they need a headset with a microphone (Which we don't have) to use any of the VoIP apps. Not to mention that most of them cost money, just to get the app, and there isn't a free trial period for most.

Another hiccup we ran into was that Gizmo5 was recently bought out by Google and has since frozen all new account registrations, so although Michelle has a number she can use, I do not. Not to mention the trouble of finding an App that allows you to go online to the google voice website to make a call and still accept that call in the VoIP app. I began doing a lot of research into it trying to find out which one would work with what we needed it to, and preferably let us test it before we spent any money on applications we can't get refunds for. This has be a project of mine for the last couple of weeks and then today I came across a fairly recent app called Whistle Phone. It, like many other VoIP providers, boasts free calling to landlines and cell phones anywhere in the US. But this one DOESN'T have any hidden limitations! It legitimately allows free incoming and outgoing calls anywhere in the US over a WiFi internet connection. They can do this, because it is powered by ads. Every few outgoing calls or so, you have to listen to a 20 second ad before it dials out. I was blown away. If you have an iPod touch and want the option of having a free phone to make and receive calls in hotspots, it is DEFINITELY worth it.

It also has a call forwarding option, so if you don't pick up in the first 60 seconds, it will forward on to any other phone, and then give the option to leave a message on the voicemail of that phone if it still isn't answered.

There is my little rave. I hope you all enjoyed it. If you have any questions about it, feel free to ask!