I admit, I was one of the last people to finally adopt a smart phone. Here I was with an old cheap phone, barely even capable of sending a text message, let alone capable of taking a quality enough picture worth sharing. So, in January of this year I purchased my first smartphone, an HTC Incredible running the Android OS. It was then that I learned the miracle that is free text messaging and a work around that allowed me to share pictures with my friends.
Google Voice is the service that makes free text messaging possible. Any Android powered phone can simply go to the Android App market place and install Google Voice, that is to say if it didn’t come preloaded.
Once you have Google Voice installed you will need to setup a new number, which will be your new text number. I would recommend forwarding your phone number to this new google provided number as well, which would then in turn forward all calls to your cell phone. Most importantly, again, it’s free when texting through Google Voice.
In my opinion there are only two draw backs to using this system. One, it takes some time to properly setup your new Google number and your cell phone. Next, Google Voice is only capable of sending text messages, not attachments like pictures or files. However, there is a work around, which I will cover next.
Dropbox is a free service that allows you to upload most file types, including images to an online folder. The app available for your Android phone and integrates this service in your Gallery software. Once installed, when sharing a picture, select Dropbox instead of Messages.
After the picture is uploaded to your online folder you can view the image through your App. It’s then possible to share a link to the image in your online folder through the Google Voice application. It’s all very easy to use, once you get it properly setup. By taking a few extra minutes to set it up and a few extra steps when messaging you can have unlimited Text and SMS messaging through your Android phone.
After getting everything setup and getting my wife on board we no longer have text messaging plans. We simply use and distribute our Google Voice number to friends and family instead of our actual Verizon provided phone numbers. This saves us a little bit each month, since we would have to pay for our data plans anyway.
Stay tuned to the Evansville Blog for more tips on saving money with technology!