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Old 03-02-2015, 08:27 PM   #1
GA Russell
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Inexpensive unlocked android smartphone

I have been a magicJack VOIP customer for a number of years. It isn't perfect, but at $20 or $25 per year, it has been a real money saver.

MagicJack now has something new to offer its customers - an app (your choice of Apple App Store or Google Play) which will allow you to make phone calls via 4G or Wi-Fi without using data plan minutes. And this app is free.

Is there an inexpensive unlocked android smartphone which would allow me to take advantage of this offer?

Here is the link which explains the offer:
http://www.magicjack.com/magicApp.html
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:36 PM   #2
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Is there an inexpensive unlocked android smartphone which would allow me to take advantage of this offer?
A cheap, little, fairly good quality phone (with an "adequate" screen) is the LG Fuel. I use one on BYO Wireless ($5 a month plan) and it works pretty well. They cost $20 at Walmart, run Android KitKat 4.4 and have a dual core CPU. Pretty fast, especially since it doesn't have much of a screen to support. You can use it for WiFi (VoIP calling) without activating it on any phone service. I use the free GrooVe IP service on mine as well -- gets a free phone number from RingTo (same parent company as Republic Wireless).

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Net10-LG-P...phone/41277517

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Old 03-02-2015, 09:01 PM   #3
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What I don't get is what does MagicJack get you that, say, Google Voice doesn't do? But then, I never have understood the attraction of them.

To my mind, it makes more sense to buy, for a one-time fee, the OBi (there are other options I believe) which can be used with a number of different VOIP services, including the free ones, of which the best known is Google Voice.
Also, you can use Google's Google Voice app for Android and iOS.

Basically, MagicJack preys on people who don't know about their options. Also, they are late to the game if they only just got an app...
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:07 PM   #4
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To my mind, it makes more sense to buy, for a one-time fee, the OBi (there are other options I believe) which can be used with a number of different VOIP services, including the free ones, of which the best known is Google Voice.
As of May of last year, the Obi products can no longer use Google Voice. This is why I never went with Google -- they kept advertising "beta" and never committing to the future (beyond a few months).

At this point, however, free GrooVe IP with a free RingTo number (RingTo supplies numbers to Google for ... whatever it is now ... Hangouts).
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:10 PM   #5
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Actually, it ended up turning out that it would still work.

http://blog.obihai.com/2014/05/the-g...-is-still.html
http://blog.obihai.com/2014/09/googl...ai-update.html
http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/10/goo...ee-voip-calls/


And of course, they are not the only service out there, and having a generic VOIP tunnel means if GV ended, you could easily switch over to something else.
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:39 PM   #6
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Thanks, guys!

I'll study what you've linked to.

KitKat is the latest Android, isn't it?
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:58 PM   #7
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No -- lollipop is.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_version_history

Mostly appearing on Nexus devices so far, it will be a while probably until other manufacturers ship Lollipop updates. So in practice KitKat is the latest.

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Old 03-02-2015, 10:04 PM   #8
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Thanks, guys!

I'll study what you've linked to.

KitKat is the latest Android, isn't it?
It's the latest commonly used version of Android. Lollipop (version 5) has shown up on a few phones so far.
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:08 PM   #9
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Actually, it ended up turning out that it would still work.

http://blog.obihai.com/2014/05/the-g...-is-still.html
http://blog.obihai.com/2014/09/googl...ai-update.html
http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/10/goo...ee-voip-calls/


And of course, they are not the only service out there, and having a generic VOIP tunnel means if GV ended, you could easily switch over to something else.
Weird, didn't know that. Still, the fact that it was on, then off, then on again kind of explains why I don't want to deal with Google Voice. Will it go off again?
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:31 PM   #10
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OK, well as long as you think that KitKat is good enough, that's all I need.
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Old 03-03-2015, 12:45 AM   #11
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Weird, didn't know that. Still, the fact that it was on, then off, then on again kind of explains why I don't want to deal with Google Voice. Will it go off again?
There was a fear that it wouldn't work -- it never turned off. Google for some time left it in "experimental, this may disappear" mode, but seems to have finally committed to offering it.

The main thing IMO is that since it is free, there is no harm in using it, and since the equipment for using it is generic VOIP equipment, then in the event GV does go off, it is trivial to switch.

Of course, people are free to use whatever free VOIP phone number provider they like -- but Google Voice is well-known and thus springs to mind.

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Old 03-04-2015, 01:44 AM   #12
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OK, well as long as you think that KitKat is good enough, that's all I need.
Yep. I know these phones (LG Fuels) work for WiFi calls.

We tend to get off the subject here. Sorry.
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Old 03-04-2015, 01:50 AM   #13
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There was a fear that it wouldn't work -- it never turned off.
There was a little more than "a fear." Obihai specifically announced that Google Voice would no longer work after May 15th of last year.

Quote:
Google Sets the Date for the End of XMPP with Google Voice
Recently Google announced the end of support for XMPP based calling with Google Voice. This will happen on May 15, 2014 – that’s over 6 months from today. Since your OBi device uses XMPP to communicate with Google servers, the end of support will directly impact how your OBi device can be used with your Gmail account and its associated Google Voice phone number. Unfortunately, you will no longer be able to use the Google Voice communication service to make calls using the phone connected to your OBi device. Also, the ability to receive calls to your Google Voice number, directly from Google’s service, will not be possible.
I didn't realize that all changed again in ... September? It looks like it's official, Obi is even printing "Google Voice" on their newer devices.
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Old 03-05-2015, 01:05 AM   #14
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Basically, OBi as well as multiple VOIP apps were taking advantage of the XMPP interface to Google Voice without Google's authorization. Google shut down that interface when they began merging Voice with Hangouts. OBi negotiated with Google to officially use their GV API, which is why they're able to offer Google Voice service again. Since it's an authorized use, I wouldn't be worried about it going away again.

I've had an OBi for about a year and a half now, though I use mine with a paid VOIP provider. Great little device.
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:47 AM   #15
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I've had an OBi for about a year and a half now, though I use mine with a paid VOIP provider. Great little device.
I've heard good things about OBi ATAs, but never had any real reason to update my Linksys one -- which has been in use for about five or six years now. What's weird is that the same guys (as Komodo Technology) invented the first ATAs (KF-200?) -- they sold out to Cisco in 2000 and these ATAs were renamed ATA-186 (and, I think, ATA-188) and these are still marketed by Cisco. Then, in 2002, the Komodo founders left Cisco and formed Sipura and marketed the SPA-xxxx line of ATAs. Sipura was also bought out by Cisco (this time under the Linksys name -- I think Linksys had just been bought out by Cisco). Cisco still markets ATAs based on Sipura's technology but now under their own name -- so for several years now, they have simultaneously marketed the ATA-186 line under the Cisco name and the SPAxxxx line under Linksys' (and now under their own name). Then, in 2010 (I believe), the same folks who founded Komodo and Sipura broke off again from Cisco and founded OBihai. So all three generations of their ATAs -- first made in the 1990s -- are still marketed. I would say they know what they're doing.
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