I have to say that since I got my iPad, I’ve used my smart phone less and less for its “smart features” and normally just use it as a cell phone. Well, as of yesterday, I might not need to use my smart phone to make calls either. I installed the Whistle Phone app on the iPad and can now call anyone in the continental US (sorry Alaska and Hawaii) for free! Actually, I do have to listen to a 15-20 second commercial whenever I dial out, but for a free service, I can deal with that. You can remove the ads by paying a per minute charge of 1.7¢… but, I’m cheap, so I just listen to the 20 second commercial.
Here’s how it works. You can sign up for a free account after you download the free app. With Whistle Phone, you get an actual US Phone number (I chose the 281 Houston Area Code.) You can call anyone with a US number (again, sorry Alaska (a little high at 33.2¢ per minute and Hawaii a bargain at 2.6¢ per minute) from anywhere in the world, and you can receive calls as well. It will work off of both a WiFi connection and the 3G connection – which must be a little annoying to AT&T. I’ve been testing it out with my friends and family, and so far, it has worked like a charm.
Mac, PC, iPhone and iPod Touch users can also download the Whistle Phone app as well. As with many of these VOIP applications, you can also buy minutes for international calling from your iPad. Whistle Phone also offers a “Follow Me” option for all accounts where you can have your Whistle Phone calls forwarded to up to five different lines, and if you don’t answer any of these lines, it will leave a voice mail on the last line in your list. That’s a pretty cool feature. You can also dial other Whistle Phone numbers, anywhere in the world, for free – also a cool feature! Your contacts from your email are automatically loaded into the Whistle Phone contacts list, and you can conference in up to two different numbers at the same time (as well as a call waiting feature that allows you to answer a second incoming call.)
I’ve really just started playing with all the features, but so far, it has been easy, fun, and cheap. I’m thinking that my children may have to just get an iPod Touch instead of a cell phone now and I can save on those monthly fees… hmmm…
Go check out Whistle Phone and let me know if you think about it.