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Posts Tagged ‘cellphone’

New Nexus 4 – Day 2

January 17th, 2014 No comments
This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Nexus 4

Yesterday I received my new phone, wiped it, updated the OS to Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat, rooted it, and installed a custom recovery (TWRP).

This morning I dropped by my local T-Mobile store on the way to work and completed the process of getting my phone working. The first step today was to get a SIM card that actually fit in the phone. I probably could have bought a cheap cutter on EBay and cut my own card down to size, but it’s actually hard to find a mini to micro SIM cutter. There are plenty of full-size to micro cutters, but few, if any, mini to micro cutters. I also figured that a trip to T-Mobile was in order so they could verify that my IMEI was truly clean, and that my old data plan actually supported LTE.

The young woman at T-Mobile was both totally competent and extremely efficient. I walked in, told her I wanted to activate a new phone and needed a SIM, and she had me walking out with a working phone in less than 10 minutes. Oh, and they didn’t charge me a thing. I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for close to 10 years and I have honestly never had a bad customer service experience.

I walked out of the store with 4 bars of “H” or HSPA+ service. My next task was to add a hybrid radio to enable LTE. Again, although one could flash hybrid rmodems the old fashioned way, someone has already built a toolkit to automate the process. It worked pretty well, but I did discover a very slight bug in the toolkit which prevented the flashing of the most recent hybrid modem version. The toolkit developer fixed that bug within hours thought and released a new version to the Play Store.

So after the flash, I saw the “4G” icon on my screen and I was able to do a speed test, which gave me 20 Mbps up and down. Not bad, but certainly nothing close to the advertised LTE speeds. But – there are several different modem revisions to try and one of them may perform better. Plus this test was done at 10:30 in the morning in downtown Boston where there were likely a lot of users sharing bandwidth. And finally, even though this phone has an LTE radio, people believe that because it wasn’t intended to be activated, the antenna wasn’t made in the most efficient fashion. So it might never perform as well as a phone designed with LTE in mind.

But nonetheless, I bought a used phone on EBay for $200. The phone was as clean as advertised and was able to be rooted without issue. I added a custom recovery and some hacks to enable a crippled LTE radio. And what I have is a very well built, high- quality Android phone with LTE speeds and the latest Kit Kat software for $203.50. That’s not bad at all.

Categories: Technology Tags: ,

New Nexus 4 Experiment – Day 1

January 17th, 2014 No comments
This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Nexus 4

The package arrived today. So far, everything looks good. Buying a phone from EBay always seems like taking a chance, but so far, this seems like a bargain. This phone is in near perfect condition – there’s not a mark on it. I plugged it in and let it charge for about an hour which restored about 25% battery. It fired right up to the default Android JellyBean screen. It had clearly been factory reset, but I reset it just in case, taking the phone back to 4.2.2.

I added my Wi-Fi password and it connected without problems. Then within 5 minutes it alerted me that an OTA update was available, which I installed without an issue. A few minutes later I received another OTA update offering the 4.3 update which also installed perfectly. Finally, in another few minutes the OTA icon offered the 4.4 KitKat update which installed flawlessly. So, within 30 minutes out of the package I’m running the latest Android OS available. So far, so good.

One of the reasons I bought a Nexus 4 for cheap instead of a Nexus 5 was that I know LTE can be enabled on the Nexus 4 with a variety of hacks. But to do that you need root access, so rooting the phone was step #2.

I’ve had lots of fun rooting devices using Fastboot commands in the past. If you’ve never done it, I recommend rooting the old fashioned way (see http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2018179 for instructions) at least once, since you do get an idea of what actually needs to be done to accomplish it. But frankly I’ve had enough command line fun for one lifetime so when a decent toolkit exists to get the job done I’ll use it.

There appears to be two main toolkits competing for attention on XDA Developers at the moment: one created by a developer called “WugFresh” at http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2517778 and one created by “mskip” located at http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1995688. After reading the full threads I chose WugFresh’s toolkit. Why? Well at the time I write this, mskip’s toolkit only worked with KitKat 4.4.2 if it auto-updated to the latest version, and the only way to enable that was to pay a fee (a “donation”) and get a key from the dev. Only based on this post and this post, some users had waited more than 5 days and still hadn’t received their key and the developer was nowhere to be found in the thread. No way I was chancing that. So WugFresh wins the day.

I watched the instructional video at http://www.wugfresh.com/nrt/wiki/ and followed it as closely as possible (the screens for installing the drivers are different in the newer version of the toolkit, but easier to use so no big deal). Short version of the story – it worked absolutely flawlessly. Seriously, no issues whatsoever. A few button clicks and I have a phone with SuperSU root access, BusyBox installed, TWRP custom recovery, and still running 4.4.2 KitKat. What more could I want?

Next step – tomorrow I get a new LTE-enabled micro-sim card (I only have a mini sim in my current phone) and install a new radio to turn LTE on. We’ll see how it goes.

Categories: Technology Tags: , ,

A New Android Chapter

January 12th, 2014 No comments
This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Nexus 4

I hate the iPhone. There, I said it. I really, really do. It’s not a particularly good smartphone, regardless of the generation. iOS is an incredible inflexible operating system (widgets? Hell no!) and the phone itself is loaded with proprietary connectors (can you say Thunderbolt) and processors the same as everyone else. Nope – I’m an Android person, plain and simple.

A couple of years ago I smashed my old T-Mobile G2 because the dying GPS finally got to me and replaced it with an HTC Amaze 4G. The battery life was terrible as I wrote here, but after a while the phone settled down (after I rooted it and installed a real ROM) and has been my daily driver for more or less two years. The short version is that the main problems had nothing to do with the hardware and little to do with Android. As usual, they were software problems introduced when a phone manufacturer wants to try and be Apple. Almost no one offers a true Android phone these days. Most manufacturers take stock Android and load it up with all kinds of extra junk. HTC has their “Sense UI.” Samsung has “TouchWiz.” Both of these and all similar “improvements” do nothing more in my opinion than take a perfectly good Android device, slow it down, reduce battery life, and generally make it hard to manage a device because they add so many proprietary settings and hide so many stock ones that I might as well buy an iPhone. I hate them all. I hate my wife’s Galaxy S3, I hate my friend’s HTC One, and I couldn’t stand the Sense UI crap on my Amaze so I finally rooted it and installed Cyanogenmod 10.1 as my daily driver ROM. I’ve never looked back. From now on it’s stock Android (or at least close to it) for me. Which leads me to my new adventure …

New Phone Needed

One main problem with the HTC Amaze is that it wasn’t popular. The Samsung Galaxy S and later S3 stole the thunder from the Amaze and this device signalled the beginning of HTC’s downfall. What a shame because I have always liked HTC devices. For as long as I’ve had smartphones I’ve used HTC devices. I’ve had:

  • an HTC Herald (T-Mobile Wing) Windows Mobile phone
  • an HTC Maple (T-Mobile Dash 3G) Windows Mobile phone
  • an HTC Desire Z (T-Mobile G2)
  • an HTC Ruby (T-Mobile Amaze 4G)

The problem with a phone that isn’t popular is that aftermarket developers don’t do a lot of work on it. Custom ROMs can be hard to find, as can quick and simple tools for rooting etc. I won’t make that mistake again, which means that I probably won’t be buying an HTC phone again any time soon. So what does that leave? Well, in the Android world, if you want something that gives the purest Android experience, you buy one of the Nexus devices that Google markets itself.These phones run stock Android. I like them a lot. But I don’t like the current $350 price for the 16GB Nexus 5. That’s a tad too much for me.

The good news is, Nexus devices are popular with the kinds of people who develop custom ROMs for phones, so there is always support for older generations of Nexus devices. Meaning that enterprising people already have Kit Kat running on the previous generation Nexus 4. So that is what I am going to do … but a used Nexus 4 and bring it to life as a full-featured daily-driver with all the bells and whistles. I’ve found what looks like a good one on EBay and I won the auction last night for $203.50 including shipping. The phone should be here this week.

In a nutshell, here were my criteria:

  1. Google Nexus device.
  2. Either carrier unlocked or already on the T-Mobile network.
  3. Clean IMEI.
  4. Close to new condition.

Having found all that I believe that with some work I can root and install Cyanogenmod (or another ROM) and patch the radio in the phone to work on the T-Mobile LTE network and end up with a phone that performs as well as any brand new off-the-shelf phone for under $250. Plus have a lot of rooting fun along the way.

So, look for some upcoming posts about my progress. And hopefully I will have a new phone by next Monday.

Categories: Technology Tags: , ,

What I’ve Learned After My First 3 Days With the HTC Amaze 4G

March 15th, 2012 No comments

Amaze 4G (image from T-Mobile.com)

Facebook for HTC Sense is killing my battery. The other day I bought a new phone because my old one broke. After I smashed it on the ground. I’ve spent a few days getting the new phone just about the way I like it. Along the way I had to solve one major problem that almost had me smashing another phone on the pavement.

Much has been written about the Amaze’s battery life. Most of it is not good. The Engadget review said, “Let’s not beat around the bush, though. In the rush to get this 42Mbps capable device to market a few rough edges were overlooked — namely, battery life.” They go one to say, ” … but whatever the culprit, expect a good three to four hours of action before hitting a productivity ceiling and plugging back in to your nearest outlet. A three-hour charge should get you back up to 100 percent and running — until the next three hours, that is.”

The Verge said, “Battery life was surprisingly dismal on the Amaze. I never once got a full day of use from the phone, and even after charging it fully it would lose its charge after only a few hours of normal use — web browsing, a few phone calls, and some camera use. Part of the problem is certainly due to T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network, which is a battery drain on any phone, but it’s among the worst I’ve seen on recent smartphones.”

My problem was much worse. For some reason, during the first day that I really tried to use the phone, it burned though its battery in less then 3 hours. I don’t mean 3 hours of intensive use. I mean 3 hours on standby with the screen off. And the phone got hot … really hot. Something wasn’t right.

I searched all over the web and many people were reporting similar issues with the Amaze and other HTC phones. For a full day and a half, every time the phone was turned on it heated up and burned through a battery in just a couple of hours. Many people reported decent battery life with the phone … but a couple of reports stuck out because they mentioned the built-in Facebook app as a problem. This one on HTC’s own message boards for example, and this one on Androidforums.

One thing was really odd … when I looked at the Android battery usage it showed that the Calendar app was using the bulk of the battery, second only to “display.” I searched this on Google and found several threads where people reported the same thing. This is one from the HTC site, and this one from XDA-Developers also mentioned the Facebook for HTC Sense problem.

So I took a look and, sure enough, Facebook for HTC Sense was running. I killed the process, deleted the account (Home -> Menu -> Settings -> Accounts & Sync) and rebooted. And my battery use dropped immediately. This morning I grabbed my phone off the charger and headed to work. And things were much better. After an hour and a half on the train with at least 45 minutes of web browsing, I arrived at work with 69% battery. The previous day I was already down to 11% at the end of the train and only 5% after my walk to work. What a dramatic improvement.

I decided to test the theory that this was a problem with Facebook on HTC Sense and not the regular Facebook app. So I downloaded the regular app and started it. The problem is that the Sense UI version seems so tightly integrated that when I started the regular app, it asked to authorize the Sense version. I hesitated at first, but eventually went ahead. And things are still working. On the ride home with some browsing and e-mail I still had 74% battery left. I’ve now been home for over 4 hours – and my phone has been off the charger for 6 and a half hours, and I still have 60% battery.

The Bottom Line

All I can figure is that during the initial setup of the HTC Facebook for Sense UI, something was corrupted and I experienced all the problems that people complain about in the  posts: phone never sleeping, radio constantly running, 3 hour max battery life. But deleting and reactivating the accounts seems to have cured all that.

So if you are having severe battery life problems with an HTC phone with their Sense UI- see if killing and recreating the Facebook account helps. It worked for me.

A $600 Tantrum

March 12th, 2012 No comments

Today I threw a $600 temper tantrum. Along with my T-Mobile G2 phone, which I more or less loved. But one nagging problem just finally got the best of me at the wrong time and I Gronk spiked my favorite phone onto the pavement.

I’m an Android fan. Part of my job is to stay on top of smartphone technology, so I pay attention to what is coming out on the market. I have an iPhone 3GS that I’ve had for a while and I have used plenty of iPhone 4 models. In earlier posts about my G2 I listed some reasons why I liked that model better than my iPhone. The main thing I liked is that the G2 had a slide-out real keyboard – I can’t stand virtual keyboards. The problem is I am apparently the only one because every new phone is an iPhone clone with no keyboard.

Anyway, over the last year I’ve come to really like my G2. Except for two problems. First, if the chassis flexed the wrong way the phone would reboot because the battery lost contact. Usually a quick adjustment of the battery would fix the problem and it wouldn’t happen for a few weeks.

The more annoying problem was an intermittent GPS issue. Every once in a while the GPS would take minutes to lock onto satellites. And I don’t even mean 1 or 2 minutes – I mean like 5 or 10 minutes. And no amount of rebooting or restarting the GPS would help. This is annoying on a good day, but if you’re trying to use your phone as a GPS system in a car and you’re lost somewhere, this is unacceptable. Even more troubling, the GPS antenna was problematic and sometimes the signal would just fade. This manifested itself as my navigation system thinking I was on one road when I was really on another, and, the final straw, would sometimes cause my Runkeeper track to wander all over the place which really compromised the distance measurements. This is what finally drove me over the edge.

I had a terrible week last week. I had a business trip that ended terribly when American Airlines left me stranded in San Antonio, TX for 12 hours and caused me to miss my connection home on Friday night. Things were so screwed up that instead of getting me home to Boston on Friday at 3 PM, they could only get me to Bradley International in Hartford, CT on Saturday afternoon and I had to rent a car and drive home. Anyway, Sunday was a beautiful 60 degree, sunny day and I wanted to go for a run. Everything went wrong – my Fitbit fell off twice and I had to keep going back to find it. The zipper broke on my running jacket before I really got going. And then … as I rounded a corner no more than 1/4 mile from my house, my Runkeeper app told me that I had already run 1.1 miles. I stopped and looked at the map and saw the track zig-zagging all over the place and I lost it. I took that phone and I spiked it onto the pavement as hard as I could.

The result - broken phone.

The Result – My Broken Phone

Now I know that the problem could very well have been Runkeeper. In fact it probably was a Runkeeper problem based on some comments I’ve seen on message boards. But after all the stress of the week I wasn’t thinking straight. So my $300 phone hit the pavement. It actually felt like a relief until I realized what this was going to cost me.

I ran back home and called the T-Mobile store near me. It was 4:25 PM and they said they closed at 5. I literally squealed tires to try and get there before they closed. I made it with 10 minutes to spare.

The only models that T-Mobile had with a slide-out keyboard are the My-Touch models (My-Touch Q and My-Touch 4G Slide), an LG Doubleplay, and a Sidekick model. Of these, only the 4G Slide had close to enough processor power to be reasonable. Unfortunately, if you’re going to buy a phone with a slide-out keyboard, the keyboard better be good. The G2 had a great keyboard. The My-Touch 4G, not so much. The one on the store was terrible. Reports on the Internet seem to agree. So I had 10 minutes to decide on what would replace my G2. I knew from prior research that a decent used G2 goes for about $300. Ridiculous, I know, but that’s the truth.

So if I was going to suffer without a keyboard the phone better excel in everything else. That lead me to the two top-end Android phones that T-Mobile now carries, the Samsung Galaxy S or the HTC Amaze 4G. Because I have always liked HTC phones, I went with the Amaze. With no research I was really taking a $600 chance. According to Engadget, I probably did OK, though in a few months I will probably smash this phone on the ground due to poor battery life.

I spent about 9 hours getting all my apps and accounts set up. And I already ordered two Anker extended batteries for it.

Frankly, I’m already starting to hate this phone. But what am I going to do? I’m stuck with it now. Might as well make the best of it.

Categories: Technology Tags: , ,

Goodbye to Windows Mobile … Hello Android

January 22nd, 2011 No comments
This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series T-Mobile G2

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I was one of the last holdouts using Windows Mobile on a smartphone. For about 18 months I have been using a T-Mobile Dash 3G phone as my primary personal device. I actually like the phone a lot. It was a great 3G performer and I like the form-factor. It was light and thin and easy to carry. The stock Windows Mobile operating system was terrible though – so I set about flashing a new operating system (still based on Windows Mobile though) that made the phone much better. All of that fun was chronicled in a series of posts and are among the most read posts on this site.

T-Mobile G2

But – it was finally time to upgrade the capabilities and move up to a real smartphone. I knew several things that would inform this decision:

  1. I remain uninspired by my iPhone (my work phone). It works fine and there are great apps, but it’s just an OK phone with some quirks that I don’t really care for.
  2. I was staying with T-Mobile as a carrier. I’ve been with them since around the time of the Voicestream acquisition and they have always been good to me. Their rates are reasonable (especially for data) and their customer service is the best.
  3. I wanted a slide-out or other physical keyboard. One of the things I hate about my iPhone is that the on-screen keyboard is such a pain to use. I really like physical keys.

This really limited my choices. Basically, T-Mobile currently offers two phones with keyboards: the MyTouch 3G Slide, and the G2. Since the G2 is advertised as 4G (OK, 3.5 G on the HSPA+ network) guess which I chose.

That’s right – I went to my local T-Mobile store and the guy there hooked me up with a BOGO deal. With upgrade credits (my contract was up 6 months ago), loyalty credits, etc. I walked out of the store with two brand new G2s (one for me and one for my wife) for $200 with a new 2-year contract. How can you beat that.

I’ve had the phone for just over two weeks now and I’ve even traveled to Europe with it.

And I can say that this phone KICKS ASS. I love it. Expect more detailed information in the coming days, but if all you want is a basic recommendation, I say you cannot go wrong with this phone.

The T-Mobile Dash 3G Summary Post

January 7th, 2010 No comments
This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Dash 3G

Over the last nine or ten months I have tweaked, upgraded, and generally overhauled my T-Mobile Dash 3G smartphone. I’ve learned quite a bit along the way. And after my most recent upgrades I think I finally have a really solid phone that I love. So if you’ve recently picked up a Dash, or are thinking about it, here’s all the information I have in one place.

The Basics

To turn your new phone into a lean, mean, communications machine, I recommend ditching the Windows Mobile 6.1 that comes on the phone and upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.5. Since neither T-Mobile or HTC has released an official 6.5 upgrade yet, you’re best bet is a custom “cooked” ROM. I use the latest version of ookba’s “3Volution” ROM. In the interest of full disclosure, modifying your phone with custom software will invalidate any warranty on the device, and most probably violates several copyrights. However, in defense of this practice, it has been well established that Microsoft is aware of, and its employees contributors to, the XDA-Developers community among others. And with all the resources at its disposal, Microsoft has not attempted to shut down the practice. So if you choose to do this, do so with an understanding of what you’re doing. (See sidebar for more info.)

How Can I Do This

As I mentioned, upgrading the software on this phone likely violates several copyrights. So how can I do it with a clear conscience?

By my reckoning, there are three parties to be concerned about: the manufacturer (HTC), the distributor (T-Mobile), and the OS Provider (Microsoft).

My feeling is that the manufacturer, HTC, doesn’t care about software upgrades. Like any computer provider (Dell, HP) they provide an initial OS, but have no vested interest in what I eventually run on their hardware. Just as I can install Linux on my Dell, I figure I can install a different OS without HTC being concerned.

As for T-Mobile, they too provide a modified OS, which incorporates their proprietary features. But, again, as long as I don’t run anything on their network that violates their terms of service, I don’t think they care whether I run WinMo 6.1 or 6.5.

That leaves Microsoft. And there is an issue here. Just because I have a valid WinMo 6.1 license, doesn’t mean I should also have a 6.5 license. So, ordinarily, upgrading with a cooked ROM would be something I’d avoid. However, in this case, Microsoft has indicated on their website that they will be offering a 6.1 to 6.5 upgrade for the Dash 3G (see http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/en-us/meet/wm65-upgrade.mspx#phoneList). So I feel somewhat justified in turning my 6.1 license into a 6.5 license. Since they say that their partners (HTC and the various carriers) will be releasing the upgrade, I figure that as far as they are concerned, getting it from ookba is just as good as Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile.

So that’s why my conscience is clear.

To install it, follow these steps:

  1. Install a \”hard SPL\” security fix, which allows non-official ROMs to be installed.
  2. Install the latest version of ookba\’s ROM.

I’ve written a little about the upgraded ROM here and here.

Upgrade the Radio

Although I’m not sure upgrading the radio made a really dramatic improvement, it does seem to have helped a little. It certainly hasn’t hurt.

Install Some Useful Applications

I’ve made a couple of lists of useful software that I’ve installed. The main list is here and the second list is here.

Learn

There are many resources on the web for Dash 3G owners. Here are some good ones:

Another Dash 3G Update – Upgrading the Radio

January 7th, 2010 1 comment
This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Dash 3G

The other day I flashed my phone to the latest version of the 3Volution ROM which Ookba had released on XDA-Developers. It’s been three days now and I’m very happy with it. It’s stable and fast and, so far, everything woks as expected. Even the Skyfire ALT key bug has been fixed.

There was really only one last thing to tackle on this device: the cellular radio itself. In a cellphone, there are really two sets of code that make things work, The Phone’s Operating System (OS) and the radio software. The OS controls all of the functions that you can see, while the radio software controls the way the phone communicates with the network. The OS and the radio can be installed separately.

Users on various message boards have reported that their phones seem to drop their 3G data connection back to EDGE speeds whenever they end a phone call. And a few people have complained that their ability to capture a 3G signal in the first place is suspect. Some people hope that an upgraded radio software package from the manufacturer will address some of these issues. In fact, it probably won’t, since connection speed decisions are made by the network and not the phone, but at any rate I figure that if HTC released a newer version of the radio software, there must be some improvement in it….

My Dash 3G originally shipped with radio version 3.44.25.30 (check yours by going to START/SETTINGS/ABOUT). The manufacturer (HTC) released a Windows Mobile 6.5 upgrade separately from the T-Mobile upgrade, and the HTC version had some updated radio code in it. Ookba managed to extract this package and build it into a stand-alone update, with version 3.47.25.29 in it. And that’s what I installed.

The Verdict

Well … the flash worked perfectly and everything installed in about a minute of work. Did it change the way my phone behaves? Not that much that I can see. It certainly doesn’t seem to have hurt anything, but there is no dramatic improvement either. I think that I am able to get better signal on my normal commute, but this could also very well be the result of T-Mobile’s ongoing network upgrades too. I don’t get any faster speeds when my laptop is tethered. I’m not sure yet whether actual phone performance is enhanced (I haven’t made enough calls).

So my recommendation is this: if you are comfortable flashing your phone, go for it. You might see some marginal improvements. But if flashing makes you nervous, then there’s no reason to suffer through this – the improvements aren’t dramatic.

T-Mobile bumps their entire 3G network up to 7.2Mbps, 21Mbps coming soon

January 5th, 2010 1 comment

T-Mobile might have been a bit late off the plate in rolling out their 3G network compared to the competition, but that gave them one small advantage: foresight. By the time T-Mobile started setting up towers, the world was already well aware that the same technology that powered their 3.1 Megabit per second 3G network could be bumped all the way up to 21 Mbps without drastic overhauls.

They’ve taken one step toward that today, kicking the speed dial up to 7.2Mbps across their entire network. They’re the first carrier to be able to claim a 100% rollout of the doubled speed — even if it is largely because their 3G network is a wee bit smaller than all of their competitors. Good news for all you speed demons: they’re looking to drive it from 7.2Mbps to 21Mbps by mid-2010, with tests already underway in Philadelphia.

[Via Phonescoop]

I found this on MobileCrunch this morning … looks like good news for us T-Mobile subscribers. And this comes on the same day that Google announced the Nexus One, which will use T-Mobile’s network, at least initially. Big day for the underdog carrier. And, according to press coverage on the Nexus One launch, Google promised that tethering will be coming to Android. Nice …

Posted via web from robhavasy’s posterous

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Replacing Mobile Phone Voicemail With Google Voice

October 28th, 2009 No comments
This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Google Voice

voice_logoYesterday I wrote a quick post about how Google had figured out how to integrate Google Voice voicemail with an existing mobile phone number. I activated it last night – here’s the scoop.

As many people figured, what this does is set up forwarding of your phone to Google Voice. There’s there’s little real integration here. Google simply figured out the dialing strings you need to enter into various carrier’s systems to forward your cellphone to your Google Voice number. And they built a little wizard to guide you through the setup. That’s about it. The only integration seems to be that if the mobile phone forwards a call to Google Voice, and the Google Voice rules are set to ring the mobile phone when that caller calls, it ignores that rule and only forwards the call to other phones on the list.

This setup has pluses and minuses, depending on your carrier. The main drawback is that most carriers charge minutes for forwarded calls, with the exception of Sprint based on their recent announcement. And, your callers will have to endure a long ringing sequence, waiting for your cellphone to forward and then for Google Voice to pick up. But the upside is that you can get Google Voice functionality with people before they clue in and start calling your new number.

My advice is that you should keep a close eye on your minutes if you enable this and get a lot of calls to your cell. Because even if you have your Google Voice set to whatever your carrier calls free numbers you can dial (your Circle, your Faves, etc.) they might still charge minutes for calls forwarded to that number. But, since you can turn this feature off at a moment’s notice, you can just give it a try and see how it works for you.

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