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Krister's Blog
krister at hallergard dot com

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Messaging - RECAP

With 3G you can make mobile phone calls and send SMS messages. An SMS text is expensive though: I pay 6p per SMS with my Pay-as-you-Go SIM-card. Even if you don't have WiFi access, you can with DATA enabled (very expensive) do all what is described in the next paragraph, such as using Internet. But LTE? and 4G?. Who really needs fast video on the go? I would prefer investments in free WiFi for all - everywhere! The high costs for SMS texts and for DATA are usually hidden in a big bundle - hopefully paid for by your employer!

In 2012 I got my first Android device, a Nexus 7 - no SIM - WiFi only. It complemented my dumbphone, which I only used when travelling - to reach if I needed to - not to be reached. With WiFi you can send IM (Instant Messaging) texts for free. And you can also make free video calls and free voice calls over VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), but only to contacts with same apps as you. This is the drawback with IM, you need to have many apps and your conversations history will be scattered to many places.

Video 7 min

At present I am using 5 messaging apps: My favourite is Hangouts, and I have it (and Skype) active on all my devices and partitions. If someone calls me, it rings on my PC (Linux or Windows) and on my two Android devices. Skype I use mainly for video calls as it is mostly used by family and friends. FB Messenger and WhatsApp has just started with voice calls, no video calls. With PushBullet you can now send IM to your contacts, not just to devices on your network.

By choosing to have a tablet without a SIM-card, I soon realized that I could not contact my daughters when they were on the go without WiFi - and they could not contact me. So I decided to get a phone number that I could use on the tablet and on the PC. I got a free Google Voice number - to use with Hangouts and Skype for SMS and calls to phone numbers. Google Voice also handles voicemail. And with this number also WhatsApp could be used on the tablet. - Yes, it's an American number!

VoIP and IM are free to your contacts with the same app, but to phone numbers it is different: With Hangouts you get free calls to all North American numbers. Hangout Calls to numbers outside North America are about half the cost of Skype calls. Sadly in Q2 2017 Google chose to kill SMS for Hangouts, but free SMS to North America is still possible with Google Voice. If I get an SMS from outside North America I would have to reply to it with a SMS using Skype, (which is slightly cheaper than with my mobile carrier), or reply with Email.

Messages Folder on Nexus 9

Cost Comparison - Calls

Cost Comparison - SMS

SMS with Google Voice instead of Hangouts
My wife wanted a new Smartphone, so I inherited her old Samsung Galaxy S2 (2011). - Like with my dumbphone it is hardly ever switched on, only when travelling. I avoid giving out my mobile number, so that I won't have to keep checking it for messages - like too many people are obsessed with doing!

Wish Google would enable SMS with Hangouts to outside North America! Instead in Q2 2017 Google chose to kill SMS for Hangouts