Google Hangouts now turns iPod Touch into a free wifi phone
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Mobile!
This is the beginning of the end for the cellphone companies:
The downside to Google Voice has always been that it’s not actually a phone. When you dial someone with the Voice app, it dials your contact, then dials your real phone, and connects you together – you can’t just dial right out on a computer or non-phone smart device like an iPod touch and use a headset.
There have been several inexpensive or free “turn your iPod Touch into a wifi phone” gimmick apps or services over the past few years, but they’ve always been a hassle (listen to a 30 second ad before your call begins..) or short-lived – so, I’ve just always dialed directly with my brick phone, and told my contacts “my real number is the google voice #, ignore the caller id”.
That all changes with the latest version of Google’s Hangouts app on iOS. The latest version allows you to dial and receive phone calls right from your iOS device, for free. Dialing out will show your google voice # on your contact’s caller id, and when someone dials your Google Voice #, your connected iOS devices will receive an notification that you’re being called – and your real phones will still ring too.
Hangouts is Google’s rebranded Google Talk service – their instant messaging service. It allows you to chat with your friends or groups of your friends, video chat, and audio chat with them. It’s basically Google’s competition to Facebook Messenger and Skype.
This is a great development for users like myself who don’t want to pay $70-$100 per month for a smart phone w/ a data plan. I typically pay about $100 for 4 or 5 months of service, because I primarily use audio/video chat on skype and email or facebook for communication. Now, I’ll be using even less pre-paid cell minutes when I need to make a call from my home or office, or anywhere else with reliable wifi. Cool.
Once reliable wifi is available everywhere, there's no more need for a wireless carrier service.
$70-$100 per month for a smart phone with a data plan is ridiculously expensive.
Google slowly but surely is disrupting this market. Awesome.
Note you can also use this app on iPad Mini if you prefer that form factor.
So an iPad Mini can now serve as your phone if you use Google Voice and Google Hangouts.
I always thought Facebook was going to do this but Google beat them to the punch.
Between this, Skype, and FaceTime, why do I need a phone?
Interestingly, not available on Android... Yet.
Hangouts will get a huge update in Kit Kat (Android 4.4).
To wit: "We have massive investment in Android. I promise you will be happy soon."
That will be the next step in disrupting the wireless carrier industry.
Especially with an unlocked Nexus 5 (coming soon!) retailing for $349:
But same could be said for Skype, no?
Skype doesn't give me a phone number the way Google Voice + Hangouts does.