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View Full Version : How to make phone calls with your ipod!




cprevost
Oct 7, 2010, 10:05 AM
OK, thought I'd save some folks a bit of research. I've been noodling around to find a way to make my ipod a phone. I waded through lots of stuff online and tried several apps in the app store. My goal was to make the entire enterprise as close to free as possible. I have a couple of solutions to share that seem to work well.

First, here's what you need:
1. Earbuds with built in mic. I found some OEM Apple ones that go with the iphone for 2 bucks online at Amazon. I ordered a couple of pairs since shipping was more than the cost of the headphones.
2. VOIP. This is the service that makes the actual phone call for you.
3. Phone Client. This is the software that sits on your ipod and does the dialing and interacts with the VOIP.
4. An internet connection.

Number 1 and 4 are easy. Let's work on 2 and 3. For these options I ended up getting 2 different options to work.
Option 1- Vonage. If you go to the app store there are 3 different Vonage clients. The one you want is Vonage for ipod. This app will do both number 2 and 3 above. It's a phone client and a VOIP service. Both are free in the US. That is to say calling any US number is free. You can call from China to the US and it's free! When you first install and initialize the software it asks you to choose a plan. If you hit cancel and then relaunch the software you can make calls for free. It'll show that you have an account balance of 0 dollars. No worries because you don't need any money in your account to make calls.

Cons- No incoming calls.

Option 2-Whistle. Whistle is like Vonage in that it is a phone client and a VOIP client. I believe there is the option with Whistle to use a different VOIP client if you already have one. The Whistle one seems to work just fine though. Whistle is ad supported. That means you have to listen to a short ad before you can make a call. There are also ads displayed on screen. Unlike Vonage though Whistle allows incoming calls. It uses the push feature of the ipod to alert you to incoming calls. Just like Vonage calls are free.

Cons- annoying ads.

That's it! There are obviously many more options than these two. They are a good place to start though. I'd try these two out and see if they work for you. If you like the way they work then you can look around at some other options available... All in all though I'd say that a 2 dollar investment for all the free calls you want is a great buy!



smirk
Oct 7, 2010, 12:31 PM
That's great info, thank you for sharing.

I just returned from a trip in Europe, where I made calls (for a fee) with Skype. The Skype service worked well, but I found the array of features and fees confusing. I had to keep clicking all over their site until a complete picture could be pieced together of which features did what and how much they cost. Maybe there's a single page that lists everything but I couldn't find it. I originally was hoping to obtain a Skype phone number so that people could call me back, but that ended up being prohibitively expensive (for me, for the limited use I needed on that trip).

For the mic, I like the earbuds I already have, so I purchased a microphone that plugs into your iPod and then you plug your own earbuds into the mic.

I bought this one:
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3706765

Thanks again for the good info!

burgundyyears
Oct 7, 2010, 12:33 PM
OK, thought I'd save some folks a bit of research. I've been noodling around to find a way to make my ipod a phone. I waded through lots of stuff online and tried several apps in the app store. My goal was to make the entire enterprise as close to free as possible. I have a couple of solutions to share that seem to work well.

First, here's what you need:
1. Earbuds with built in mic. I found some OEM Apple ones that go with the iphone for 2 bucks online at Amazon. I ordered a couple of pairs since shipping was more than the cost of the headphones.


Except for 4th generation, of course. Mic built in. Just noted here for others' reference.

skiltrip
Oct 7, 2010, 01:12 PM
So far, I've been playing around with Skype, Whistle, and TextFree's beta calling.

Skype is the most dependable I've seen, but I payed the 2.99 for the month to try out unlimited calling. Used it a couple times while I was in my back yard and forget my cellphone. Worked very well with the built in speaker and mic.

Whistle is blocked thru my employer's network, whereas Skype is not. Not Whistle's fault, but it makes it a lot less useful. The great thing about Whistle though, is you do get a real number (though mine is a TX number when I live in NY, you can't choose area code, you just get what they give you). And you can make and receive calls. Another cool thing is call forwarding. If someone calls your Whistle number, and it doesn't go through, it is automatically forwarded to your cellphone (or whatever number you register). And this is all free, unless you want to pay for ad-free service in the form of minute packs.

TextFree, I wanted this to work, as I use texting a lot, and you CAN choose your area code and number with this service. But I find TextFree to drop a lot of calls, and when trying to call my iPod, the calls don't show up half the time. And I'll get an alert 30 minutes later telling me I missed a call.

So far, I find Skype the most dependable if you just need a call-out service, provided you shell out the $3 a month.

Whistle comes in second with all the features they throw your way.

TextFree comes in third simply because it hasn't worked well for me. But hopefully they will improve. If that's the case, I'll gladly start using this. I believe it's $1.99 for a pack of 100 minutes, which I assume don't expire.

Ving
Oct 8, 2010, 02:30 AM
Give MO-Call (http://www.mo-call.com/en/mobile-voip-sms-download/apple) a try if you unhappy with the other applications.

sam8940
Oct 8, 2010, 10:17 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

I frequently use whistle and I think out of all the voip apps I've tried it's the best and the adds arent that anoying.

ToothTooth
Oct 8, 2010, 11:41 AM
The NY Times tech blog recently had an article on this very subject:

http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/turn-an-ipod-into-an-iphone/

The writer offers Line2 as a pretty good solution, but at a cost of $10 per month.

There's also a pretty handy comparison chart of several VOIP services.

http://www.line2.com/see_how_we_compare.aspx

Phil In Idaho
Oct 9, 2010, 04:37 PM
Don't forget to take a look at Truphone too.

BTW - Thanks for all the links and info!

Aero26
Oct 9, 2010, 04:57 PM
Interesting information. Thanks for sharing.

cprevost
Oct 20, 2010, 12:13 AM
Well, Vonage is gone from the app store. The free one that I downloaded is now a pay service. So, I'm back to using whistle. Works great though. Supposed to be ad supported but I haven't encountered any so far.

andyroy
Oct 20, 2010, 01:48 PM
thanks for sharing, nice tips, i just bought new itouch 4g and download skype and facebook, but never try to call, now i get a good information about this. that was good and some time cheap also. really great article.

Illot
Oct 20, 2010, 02:08 PM
Would Skype be a reasonable approach to phone calls with the IPod?

nixiemaiden
Oct 21, 2010, 05:00 PM
I downloaded vonage and it didnt make me pay. When it tells you to pick a plan you can close out and go back into the app and make calls. I just tested it out last night.