A long time ago I replaced my landline with my smartphone. Now I have replaced my phone with my two tablets (BlackBerry PlayBook and iPad Mini). It wasn’t a deliberate decision at first; it was a natural evolution in the way that I do things on my mobile devices.
Tablet replaced smartphone
I used to do everything on my smartphone: reading, writing, web surfing, shopping, online banking, social networking, chatting–you name it. I lived on my smartphone. Once I got my first tablet, I found myself doing all of the above more frequently from my larger screen.
One day I accidentally left the house without packing my smartphone in my bag. I didn’t notice at first, because I had remembered to pack my tablet. This was a revelation to me. I realized that the only thing that I used my phone for was the rare occasions where I made and received voice calls. Other than the occasional business call, most people contact me via email, social networking sites or instant messaging services.
One device to lug around
The incident made me realize that life would be much simpler if I could leave the house with just one device every day. I immediately began researching ways that I could use my WiFi BlackBerry PlayBook and my WiFi + cellular iPad Mini for voice calls. There are several VOIP services available. The most well-known is probably Skype. I find that this VOIP service works well on my iPad Mini. Sadly, as of the posting of this article, there is no app available for my BlackBerry PlayBook.
Though I use Skype frequently, I have opted to primarily use Comwave’s ePhone because there is an app available for both of my tablets. With ePhone I have my own phone number and voice mail. This phone number is the key to my tablet-only mobile existence. I forwarded my smartphone’s number to my Comwave ePhone number. I use my WiFi-only tablet mainly at home. I take my cellular iPad Mini with me when I leave the house.
I avoid looking too goofy while in public by making calls using my wired earbuds. When at home, I tend to use speakerphone. None of my contacts has seemed to notice a change in the call quality from when I used my smartphone exclusively. I’ve been able to keep the data usage on my iPad within my plan’s limits without too much difficulty by using WiFi whenever it is available.
Internet phone services are not recommended for emergency calls. There is no 911 service. For this reason, I keep my smartphone as a backup. In the United States the Federal Communications Commission requires all cell phone carriers to accept 911 emergency calls from any wireless phone, regardless if it is activated or not. So technically, I could cancel my mobile phone’s service plan and still be able to call police and fire for help. However, often in emergency situations we wish to contact friends and family as well as emergency workers. For this reason, I keep my mobile phone service active.
Tablets are the future
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 offers a glimpse of what may soon be the future for mobile phones.This iPad Mini-sized tablet is basically a giant smartphone. It is able to make and receive calls. Alas, the phone feature is not expected to be available in the U.S. market. Until such a device becomes available in the United States, I believe that I have found a decent workaround. I love using my two tablets as my phones. My mobile life has been simplified and changed for the better.