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Rethinking the iPhone

The Swiss Army knife of telephony

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Better telephone experience, better value for money

Replacing the iPhone mobile telephone capability cost $39. Walmart sells a small mobile telephone that fits the little sub-pocket in my jeans, and works really, really well. It was part of a package called StraightTalk which costs $30 monthly for 1,000 minutes, and 1,000 text messages, delivering a three hundred per cent increase in my minutes and a much better telephone experience. The service runs over the excellent Verizon network.

Getting StraightTalk was easy - first you select a phone in a Walmart store (I chose a simple small flip-phone with bluetooth). You then take it home and set up the service - I chose to have StraightTalk bill my debit card monthly, and I transferred my AT&T number (in under two hours).

Google Goodies

Google Voice (GV) is a game-changing telephone service that provides a free telephone number, free text messages, free USA telephone calls and dirt-cheap international calls. I use my GV number as my office number, and found it worked really well with Straight Talk.

GV provides a host of advanced features that blew AT&T/Apple away. I especially like including emailed voice messages sent as audio or voice transcribed (or both). Google Voice and StraightTalk are a highly potent combination, that is simple to use:

• Outgoing GV calls made from my iPad or computer (via GV Mobile + App or browser), mean I call my contacts directly - my Apple Address Book & Google Contacts automatically synchronize. Such calls ring my new mobile, which when answered, automatically ring the the contact.

• Incoming calls to GV ring my mobile phone and/or any other phone(s) I nominate. An incoming GV text is automatically forwarded to my mobile, as is a notification of voice mail, I pick up with a pin code from my GV number. I also have my Google calendar (which automatically synchronizes with my Apple calendar) text notify of events 60 minutes before the scheduled time.

When I substituted GV’s voice for the standard Verizon voice mail - it took three clicks!

iPad

I already extensively use an iPad, with the Apps. from my iPhone and more - Apple allow an installed App to appear on all of your IOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch). The iPad of course has email, internet browser etc. - mine only connects through Wi-Fi because I just could not bring myself to pay for another lousy and expensive AT&T 3G service.

Like most people I have Wi-Fi connectivity through my home, and is usually available in most of the places I regularly visit, be they offices, hotels or other folks homes. In addition Starbucks and McDonald’s have free Wi-Fi, as do an increasing number of other places including local libraries. I rejected the idea of buying an iPod Touch for its portability - I tried it and it worked well, but I really prefer my iPad.

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