Battery Issue with HTC EVO Design and FreedomPop Has Class

A set of related events happened today. I woke up to a completely dead HTC EVO Design. This was worrisome because in transitioning, or hoping to transition, away from my iPhone 4 and AT&T, I would be dependent on the EVO’s alarm clock and dead phones don’t make noise. I was not the only one with this issue – here is a screen shot of the email they sent today.


So FreedomPop will be sending out a new battery to all those who ask and they have updated their messaging app to not hog the battery. Very classy.

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Mini Update since the unboxing…

Before my phone came in, I wanted to update myself on the state of VOIP/SIP and Google Voice which I posted here. I wanted to figure out some external choices I can make to NOT picking up the new phone – it may be the direction I actually chose, dependent on the software I can get for the phone and how it behaves – and how that it all cuts into the megabyte budget.

October 2013 update to VOIP, SIP and the Neverending Sadness

 

I thought in the 6 years since I wrote about VOIP and SIP telephony, I would do an update as to the state of getting free or close to free service in the US. In a word, the state is “dismal,” but not impossible. I think my biggest problem is that Google shut down Gizmo VOIP/SIP three years after the acquisition of Grand Central in favor of you using their web browser based chat client to make and receive calls. Kind of a bummer for those who spent money on hardware to inter-operate with the service that doesn’t speak Google’s non-standard lingo.

On top of all this, in the world of free, or almost free, phone service, if I have learned nothing, I have learned that nothing is forever. Take Sipgate for example, great and reliable service, until it goes down on October 31st of this year. Sipgate has given plenty of warning to its users, but no good explanation. I am currently trying a ‘fremium‘ (there is a business model!) – FreedomPop’s HTC EVO Design with free service plan, but “free” has a hard time making money. Except for Ipkall, which is a weird and wonderful free service that will give you a Washington state number the will route to you chosen inexpensive sip service. Ipkall makes money because of telephone network routing fees (old line Ma’ Bell stuff) – hurts my head thinking about it. Ipkall will probably be around for a while. Up is down. Black is white. “Time exists is by virtue of quantum entanglement” is a thing you overhear at a coffee shop.

The following are some ways you can get around the death of Gizmo’s, and now Sipgate’s, services so you may possibly get squeeze some more free service out of Google Voice.

YATE works with Google Voice out of the box and is a good, though basic, softphone with chat/messaging client. Of you are sitting on a computer all day with headset and microphone this is a good alternative to the Google Voice browser based client.

Google Voice on IOS has both Click to call and VOIP client built right in. This is useful if you have an old IOS device that is no longer in use or you are trying to cut down on carrier usage.

Simon Telephonics offers a simple gateway for SIP devices and non-Google Voice Ready clients – and ideal choice to start using you off the shelf VOIP devices. I highly recommend turning on Google’s 2 factor authentication and create a randomly generated password that you can revoke if need be.

Or, if you have an unlimited amount of time, server power and you love doing stuff that no normal human being would think of doing you can also make your own gateway – Google Voice Calls Through Yate server – using your SIP account

Research Links:
http://www.disruptivetelephony.com/2011/03/summary-links-to-posts-on-calling-google-voice-using-sip.html
http://www.disruptivetelephony.com/2012/11/the-fascinating-interest-in-using-google-voice-with-sip-addresses.html
http://nerdvittles.com/?p=832
http://www.sipsorcery.com/mainsite/help/googlevoice
http://code.google.com/p/google-voice-sipsorcery-dialplans/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Voice#VoIP_services
http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/voice/kQkJGS3STYk
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Google-Voice-Calls-Using-SIP-%28Teltub%29
http://www.disruptivetelephony.com/2011/03/google-voice-now-offers-sip-addresses-for-calling-directly-over-ip.html
http://voxilla.com/2012/05/04/bill-simons-free-sip-to-xmpp-gateway-easily-puts-google-voice-on-your-voip-phone/

The Unboxing

I am not going to write much here. I have always thought that unboxing items was kind of a silly practice, but, here it is. The only thing to note is that you get one quick start sheet with 2 instructions and a website address, along with one micro USB cable and wall adapter. That is all. You want instructions? Go here.

Until Saturday…

Well, it is crunch time for the FedEx man. It has only taken 20 days to ship a $100 refurbished android device with free service. If I were living in the 1960s the previous two sentences would make absolutely no sense.

So, my friends, I have been digging around for a better understanding of the device I will have my mitts on this Saturday. Here is what I found:

How FreedomPop is separating voice from data on its new VoIP phone service

FreedomPop sees ‘better than expected demand’ for HTC Evo phone

More than free data: FreedomPop launches carrier-killing mobile service with free calls and texts

FreedomPop Selects Telespree to Deliver 3G/4G LTE Real-Time Data Services

Telespree

Disappointment, but, it’s a Beta.

My order went in on October 2nd. It has been 13 days since my order and I cant remember the last time I have had to wait over two weeks for anything since the invention of the internet. Seriously. I may have waited an extra weekend due to bad timing on my part of the ordering process, but that is an extra 2 days. And beyond the email stating that they have started shipping not other word has come out of FreedomPop. I understand this is new. I am guessing it has proven to be more popular than they though it would be. And I am not exactly hurting for cell service.

Yes, this is truly a first world problem.

So until then I am looking up VOIP apps for Android…

This article seems to be a good starting point.

Hold on, I’ve done this before, kind of…

I was having a rare quiet moment to myself recently and I realized that my aim for the forthcoming HTC EVO Design from Freedom pop is eerily similar to where I landed with my GrandCentral(begetting Google Voice), Tracphone, Handitone 286 combo from 2008. which I wrote about here with relevant links.

Simply put, I want to use the EVO’s allotted bandwidth only when absolutely necessary. If I am in the vicinity of ANY free WIFI signal, I want my phones WiMax usage to go down to zero. Such was a smiler case 5 years ago and my pay as you go phone the Motorola_C139

 


I can’t bring up the Motorola C139 (the ‘C’ stands for crap), which was made to be a pay as you go phone, without going on about what a completely featureless feature phone is this device. To its credit, the phone made calls, had a phone book, and rang. When the world was in love with the relatively new iPhone, I went really far down market. But, it made EXTREMELY good financial sense. Instead of paying about 100 dollars per month on a cell plan (remember buying minutes?) I paid $144 for the phone and 880 minutes that would run out in a YEAR. Or $12 per month. Or 8% of the phone with the plan. And at the time, I needed the savings.

Tack my Motorola C139 with GrandCentral which could do VOIP and the Handitone 286 which could do Voip on a regual phone without having a computer on and all calls were free. That was a combination that could work today, if Google Voice did not shut down straight VOIP, that is. I would set up my number to send to the cell phone and the VOIP phone and pick up the one that was available for the least amount of money – cell on the go, VOIP at home.

Well here we are at the end of 2013 and I am confronted with a way to do the same thing with a smart phone, using WiFi access point,  Google Voice and it’s Android app to want to accomplish the same thing only this time I get the features of, well, what we have come to know as a real phone.

Kind of cool.

Adventures with the FreedomPop’s HTC EVO

After hearing the news about this phone offer and approximately 2 days worth of contemplation, I though I would pull the cord and spend the $100 on FreedomPop’s refurbished HTC EVO Design 4G. The service is beta. And the service is a beta. And, they will tell you many times during the sign up that, by the way, in case you did not know, this service is beta. You can get a phone for $100 and the service for free. I am not holding my breath on out of the box fantastic service, but, I am here. I am here to push, prod and otherwise make this service and device bend to my needs, if possible, just in-case this offer is too good to ignore.

I have yet to receive a package with the phone at this point. More to the point, I have not even received a FexEx tracking number at this point. Must point out, I put in my order 6 days ago (4 business days). Their site is pointedly quiet about this point as well.

About that phone, though, what I can glean from the online reviews is that the HTC EVO Design is not the phone of prestige for the cool kids, but has a faithful following. It is probably the phone your mom got for $99 with service contract, probably about 2 years ago.

I am assuming that they are not sending along manuals with the phone because they have a link to the manual off Sprint’s site on FreedomPops faq page about the EVO.

No word on which version of Android with which the phone comes, if it’s rootable, and if rootable, how badly, if at all, will it break the terms of service. As the newscaster who has nothing to write writes, “only time will tell.”

The following are some review links and videos for this phone.

Engaget’s HTC EVO Design 4G review
//www.viddler.com/embed/533afbb2/?f=1&offset=0&autoplay=0&secret=41558461&disablebranding=0

Here is an early CNet review of the Boost Mobile version…
http://www.cnet.com/av/video/embed/player.swf

Stay tuned…