iPod Data PhoneIf you want an iPhone without the procrustean contracts and pricey service plans, here's a solution: an iPod with Skype and Google Voice SMS, running on EVDO wifi.
The Mobile Freedom Project continues with this latest iteration. After hearing about Skype with multitasking, I purchased an 3rd Generation iPod Touch (the only iPod that currently supports multitasking), and got to work.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="ipod 3rd generation and no contract EVDO card from DataJack"][/caption]
I already have Google Voice and a Skype number setup, and I purchased an no-contract EVDO card from DataJack a few months ago, so this round of setup was pretty simple. I setup Google Voice to forward calls to my Skype number. Connected the iPod to the datajack wifi. Call forwarding and multitasking are working fine, ringing the iPod as expected.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Skype ringing on incoming call"][/caption]
The only problem solving I had to do was push notifications for Google Voice SMS. I did a cursory search for an app that does this, but none of them were satisfactory. The solution I came up with was pretty simple. Text messages to Google Voice get forwarded to my email, and I've installed the Push for Gmail app to give SMS like alerts for emails.
Battery drain with Skype backgrounding is likely the biggest pitfall, but hopefully future updates will address this.
My next step might be to set up a separate email account for Google Voice only, so that the notifications only pop up for SMS and voicemail, instead of all email.
Please feel free to post comments or questions, or check out the other Mobile Freedom Project posts for background and ideas.