Posted in Business
Using Your Tablet as a Phone
Is it possible to use your tablet computer as a phone? With VoiP style programs and services it certainly is. Clever web design is making these applications far more tablet-friendly as well. Faster mobile networks around Australia, such as the 4G network, are also making it possible.
Even though most tablets don’t come with calling capabilities, including those with a sim card that are connected to a mobile network, there are ways you can still use it as a phone.
VoIP (an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol) allows you to make a phone call using an Internet connection rather than a traditional landline or mobile network. It is a perfect match for tablets as well. You can use it at home if you have a Wi-Fi link to your broadband connection. You can also use VoIP via a mobile phone network while out and about. This option does pose a few problems, however. Poor mobile coverage is an issue Australia-wide so it is likely you will encounter speed issues and drop-outs at times.
That’s not to say it is not a viable option for replacing your traditional mobile phone. Phone calls using an application such as Skype are a fraction of the price of mobile phone calls or even your home phone. In many cases VoIP to VoIP calls are free, national and local calls are charged per call rather than by time, and international calls are usually charged in cent increments per minute.
VoIP programs also come with the ability to video call as well, which opens a whole new world when it comes to communicating on the move. The screen resolution on tablets is now impressive and it makes talking to your friends in real time and face-to-face a great attraction.
How to get VoIP
A simple web search will uncover numerous options for VoIP providers. Not all are going to be suitable for your tablet (different operating systems will determine what works). All it really entails is downloading the software onto your tablet and then using a Wi-Fi or mobile network to connect to the Internet and make calls. You will need a VoIP number, however. Good providers will offer them for a low cost and there are even apps for iPads and Android-based tablets that can provide you with a VoIP phone number.
While it can be handy – even something of a novelty – to use your tablet as a phone, there are some negatives. The first has already been discussed in this article. Unreliable networks and slow broadband speeds means quality can often suffer and there are drop-outs and even no connection at all when away from major urban centres.
The second is practicality. You can’t exactly put a tablet to your ear and talk away like you do on a mobile phone. Using the speaker means everyone around you can hear your private conversation, so this can be a turn-off for many people looking to use their tablet as a phone. The option is to use a set of headphones, but this isn’t exactly a fashion statement!