Along came the Nexus One, and I switched as soon as the AT&T version was made available online. With Android 2.2 onboard, I was finally able to use Google Voice as it was intended: an integrated and seamless experience within my phone. Well, almost. While I was now able to make and receive calls with my Google Voice number, and send and receive free texts, it still didn’t do MMS and the service was hit or miss. However, I trudged on and used my Nexus One with Google Voice. I trained my family and friends to use that number exclusively. I made them delete my old cell phone number. The fact that I always was testing a new cell phone on a different carrier meant that unless they used that number, they likely wouldn’t get me on another number anyway. I finally went all in about a year ago and dropped my texting plan altogether.
So at this point I had really embraced this service. I regularly used the desktop interface to make and receive calls and texts, and could even do some video calling. How much better could it get? Enter GrooveIP. When I got my first Honeycomb tablet, I was excited to be able to continue my Google experience on a larger screen. However, I still needed to keep my phone nearby for calls. GrooveIP is a Voice over IP (VoIP) client which allows you to make or receive calls with just a data connection. With this client running on my Tab, I was finally able to put my phone down. Sure, it’s a little clunky to have a conversation on a 10” tablet, but we’re talking a speakerphone. I’m not putting this thing up to my head!
The final step for me to fully leverage Google Voice was my recent purchase of an Obihai 110 VoIP router. This router plugs into your home network via ethernet, and allows you to plug a normal landline phone into it. You can easily input your Google credentials through the web interface and it becomes a switch for all of your Google Voice calls.
I recently upgraded my alarm system to cellular, so we didn’t need our home phone anymore. Rather than completely ditch the home telephone number I’ve had for the last 12 years, I’ve ported that number to a prepaid T-Mobile account. Once that port is complete, I’ll pay the $20 fee to port the number to a Google Voice account, and this will allow me to keep the same number I’ve had at home without the $40 a month charge for landline service. This keeps my wife happy, and it also made my daughter happy. The Obihai 110 allows you to input 2 different accounts, so I added my daughter’s GV number as well. She can receive texts on her iPod Touch, and when her friends call her GV number, it rings our home phone as well.
So at this point, we’re all in with Google Voice. It’s a fantastic free service that I would gladly pay money to use. I believe I’m now using it as the trifecta: cellular phone, tablet, and home phone.
If you’ve been wondering how you might integrate it into your life, I hope I’ve given you some ideas.