One of the 'secret' capabilities of the Nexus 7 that many owners aren't aware of is that with a little work their tablets can have the ability to make phone calls. Now to be sure you can't just dial someone on your Nexus 7 out of the box and expect it to work and it's true the Nexus 7 doesn't have cellular 3G/4G/LTE ability like our cell phones. But with a Wifi connectoin, a Google Voice account and a free piece of software like 'Groove IP' by snrb Labs, you can make perfectly usable phone calls over VOIP (Voice Over IP). These calls will work for any phone number in the U.S. and Canada and are free (international there's a small fee) and while it might not suffice for being your only phone...it's a great way to save the minutes on your regular cell phone for those times when you're away form a Wifi connection and need those cellular minutes.
Voice without Minutes!
-A single number that rings you anywhere
-Online voicemail--transcribed messages delivered to your inbox
-Free calls within US and Canada, and super low rates everywhere else
-The ability to send incoming call to voicemail
-Incoming call recording
-And many, many more...
The paid version includes these upgrades:
- Calls over a mobile data connection not just WiFi
- Native dialer integration
- Proximity sensor support
- Change sign in status or sign in invisible
Groove IP gets fairly consistent 4 and 5 star ratings among Nexus 7 owners in user reviews on Google Play:
Paul - July 24, 2012 - Asus Nexus 7 with version 1.0.5
My Nexus 7 is now a phone - Thanks!
App works great on my new N-7. Calls sound fine over wi-fi and when my tablet is tethered to my smart phone. I have grandfathered unlimited data w/450 voice mins and no text plan on my phone. Will be installing this on the phone too!
michael - July 22, 2012 - Asus Nexus 7 with version 1.0.5
Works great on Nexus 7.
Lionel - August 11, 2012 - Asus Nexus 7 with version 1.0.6
Makes it extremely easy to manage GV call forwarding options.
Now to be sure there are some tradeoffs when using Groove IP. Some users find there is a slight delay or lag between sides of the conversation and this will be more or less depending on the speed of your internet connection. The voice quality can also vary depending on a bunch of factors, although generally it seems users find the voice quality better than competing programs like 'Skype'. Now there's a paid version which goes for $4.99 and it removes ads, enables the ability to use Groove IP over a mobile data connection (if you want to use it on your cell phone for instance) as well as adds some features like proximity sensor support, native dialer integration and 'change status to invisible' options.
As we mentioned above in order to set up Groove IP to work as a phone you'll need to have a 'Google Voice' account and associate it with either a 'Google Apps' or 'Gmail' account. You'll also need to foward all 'Google Voice' calls to 'Google Chat'. Some other great features of 'Groove IP' include a number of voicemail and transcribe message options, the ability to have one number that rings you anywhere, as well as cool features like 'speaker phone' which is something that competitors like 'Skype' don't offer. The developer has a dedicated 'Groove IP' website
where you'll find tons of more information as well as tech help to help make 'Groove IP' work optimally on your device. I'd encourage those that want to give it a try to test out the free version at the link below. Let us know how you like it in the comments.