Amazon introduced calling and messaging to its Echo speakers back in May then implemented the same feature inside the Alexa app so you could start a call or receive one from your phone, without having to be near your Echo. However, the feature had one main limitation: the person you were calling had to have an Echo or at least Alexa calling set up. Calls to phone numbers weren't possible, but now they are.
Amazon secretly enabled the option a couple of days ago and has now officially added it to the Alexa app changelog. After setting up Alexa calling and messaging in the app's Conversations tab, you can say something like, "Call dad's phone," or, "Call dad's mobile phone number," and it will perform a call to the phone number. Read More
If Sprint is your carrier of choice, you just got three new CDMA-compatible devices to choose from. As of yesterday Sprint now has the ZTE MAX XL, a big but inexpensive phone with a big battery. It isn't new, though it did come out this April. But, it is new to the carrier. There's also the ZTE Warp Connect if a hotspot is more to your liking. Lastly, we have one of the most interesting Android devices in recent memory, the Sprint Phone Connect 4, which gives you a landline over a cellular connection. Read More
Quite a lot of us have done away with the landline telephones that used to be a staple of homes in the developed world. A 2013 survey concluded that over 40% of US households had ditched their standard landlines phones, driven by younger users relying exclusively on their cell phones. But according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, both Google and Amazon are looking to revive the landline (well, VOIP line anyway) as a bonus feature in their voice-controlled Wi-Fi speakers, the Google Home and Amazon Echo/Tap/Echo Dot. Read More
You've probably heard the joke by now. A 20-something job applicant or apartment hunter or a long-suffering customer support victim is talking to someone who asks him, "and what's you're landline number?" To which the young man replies, "what the hell is a landline?" But niche hardware company Obihai aims to bring back the home phone with its line of VOIP phones and adapters that use your broadband connection to make and receive calls without a landline. And now, it works with Google Voice.
At least some of Obihai's products have worked with Google's pseudo-VOIP solution for some time, but now the OBi100, OBi200, and OBi300 adapters and the full Office OBi1032 telephone will officially support calls via your Google Voice number. Read More
Panasonic's KX-PRX120, besides having a sexy name, is quite the handset. It runs Ice Cream Sandwich, has access to the Play Store, and sports a 3.5 inch touch-screen that would not look out on place on display next to any other budget smartphone. The thing is, buyers won't want to tote it around town. This digital cordless phone is too timid for that lifestyle and works best within the confines of its own home.
Consider this a premium cordless phone for people who still, well, need dedicated landlines and perhaps lack access to a smartphone with the same functionality. It's a smartphone for people who don't need, like, or want smartphones. Read More