In my recent preliminary review of the HTC Tilt 2, I mentioned that getting the device to work with VoIP and Google Voice calls would be a high priority for me. Since then, I’ve found a workable solution. This article will show you with step by step instructions how to set it up.
Why would I want to use Google Voice with my cell phone?
- Google Voice gives you a permanent number that forwards to the phone or phones of your choice. If you change carriers or move, you don’t have to worry about “porting” your old phone number- you can just change your forwarding phone settings in Google Voice. Additionally, your Google Voice number can ring your home, work, and cell phones at the same time, and you can answer whichever one you want. You can block specific numbers, send others to specific phones, and determine what time of day you want each phone to ring.
- Save money/minutes on calls. US calls are free. International calls are far less expensive than the exorbitant per-minute fees charged by cellular carriers. For example, I can use Google Voice to call my sister in Germany for about 2 cents per minute. AT&T would charge well over a dollar per minute for the same call.
- Keep your cell/home numbers private. You can use Google Voice as your outgoing number when you place calls. This requires some additional software, but gives the advantage of not exposing numbers you want to keep private. Only your Google Voice number will show up on caller ID when you place calls this way.
- Save money on text messages. You can send and receive text messages directly from Google Voice using your phone’s mobile browser. If you don’t have a text plan, or if your text plan only gives you a limited number of monthly messages, this is a good way to maximize your usage while saving on message fees. Alternatively, you can have your text messages forwarded to your phone.
- Voicemail transcription. Using your phone’s mobile browser, you can read transcriptions of voicemail messages minutes after they are left. The transcriptions are not perfect, and are sometimes amusing, but the service is good enough that you can see who called and get the gist of what they wanted.
Disclaimer (Read this before you continue!): This is the part where I cover my butt. Integrating Google Voice with your Windows Mobile phone requires installing and configuring several free third-party software programs. The procedure described below worked on my HTC Tilt 2 from AT&T running Windows Mobile 6.5. I have not tried it on any other device and I make no guarantees that it will work on yours. I do not offer any type of tech support. If you choose to proceed, you do so at your own risk and agree that I am not responsible for anything that may go wrong as a result.
Still with me? Good.
Things you’ll need
In addition to your phone, you’ll need several pieces of free software, and a couple of free user accounts. I’ll show you where to get each of these things and how to configure them.
- A device running Windows Mobile. I have version 6.5 on mine. I’m under the impression that this should work with previous versions as well, but you may have to use different software or earlier versions of the same software.
- iDialer-gv from Supware.com. This app comes in both Google Voice and regular flavors. Make sure you get the one for Google Voice, which has the “gv” suffix.
- iContact from Supware.com. This app integrates your phone contacts with iDialer and provides some additional functionality.
- iDialer configuration program. Once you’ve installed iDialer, you use another program to configure it to your Google Voice account and dialing preferences.
- Fring. This is the VoIP client you will use for your Google Voice calls. You can use another VoIP client if you prefer, as long as it is configurable and supports the SIP protocol.
- A wifi or 3G connection.
- A Google Voice account.
- A Gizmo5 account. Your Google Voice account will forward to this service, which integrates directly with Fring.
Part One: Setting up Google Voice
Note: For this next part, you need a Google Voice account, or an invitation to set up a Google Voice account. The service is available by invitation only. If you already have an account or invitation, skip the next paragraph and go directly to the instructions. Update: Google Voice is now open to the public and invitations are no longer required.
I recommend using your desktop computer rather than your mobile browser for this part.
- If you don’t already have a Google Voice account, click the link in your invitation email. Follow the instructions to create your account. If you don’t already have a Google account, you’ll be asked to set one up at this point. You will have a choice of area codes, and the chance to enter any number sequences you want in your new phone number.
- Once you’ve created your Google Voice account, log in and click “Settings” in the upper right corner.
- Under “Settings,” select “Phones.” This is where you set up Forwarding Phones, which are the phones you want your Google Voice number to forward to. When you place a call through Google Voice, you will choose one of your forwarding phones for the call to be connected to.
- Click “Add phone.” You’ll be asked to enter the type of phone, the number, and a phone name that you select.
- After you click “Save,” a message will pop up telling you that the number needs to be verified. A 2-digit code will be displayed.
- Click “Connect.” Google Voice will call the phone number. When you answer, you will be asked to enter the code displayed on the website using your phone’s numeric keypad. After you have entered the code, you will be told, “your forwarding phone is set up. Goodbye.”
Part Two: Setting up your Gizmo account
Note: Parts Two and Three are optional. You need them only if you want to make free VoIP calls with your cell phone that don’t use your minutes, or if you want to connect your Google Voice number with an analog telephone adapter for free home phone service.
Update: Since Gizmo5 is no longer allowing new signups, I recommend substituting a free SipGate account, available at https://secure.sipgate.com/register/code. Enter your cell number to receive a text message with instructions for signing up. Make sure you choose “SipGate One,” which is free. Once you’ve signed up, download the SipGate softphone, available here. Using the SipGate Softphone, register and confirm your SipGate number with your Google Voice account.
I recommend using your desktop computer rather than your mobile browser for this part.
- Go to GizmoProject.com. Click on “Download for Desktop.” Follow the instructions for downloading and installing the Gizmo softphone client.
- When you open the softphone program for the first time, you will have two choices: “Log in using an existing account name” or “Register a new account name.” Select “Register a new account name.” You’ll be asked to pick a username and password, and provide an email address. Follow the instructions to register your free account. Don’t opt for any of the paid plans unless you already know you want to.
- Return to GizmoProject.com. Click on “Members Sign In” in the upper right corner. Enter your username and password to sign in.
- Scroll down until you see “Account Overview.” Beneath “Account Overview” you should see “Sip Number:” followed by a 11 digit number that looks like a phone number. Write this number down- you’ll need it to set up forwarding in your Google Voice account.
- Click the “Google Voice” tab. Enter your Google Voice number and click “Save.” This enables Google Voice calling directly through Gizmo. Your Google Voice number will show up as your outgoing caller ID. Gizmo limits you to 3 minutes free on outgoing calls, after which you pay 2 cents per minute. All incoming calls are free, which is why I’m going to show you how originate your calls from Google Voice such that Gizmo treats them as incoming calls.
Note: the Gizmo “Sip” number is not a regular phone number, and cannot be directly called from a cell phone or landline. In order to take calls from regular phones, you have to set up a forwarding service, such as Google Voice. For a few dollars per month, Gizmo will give you a regular phone number that forwards to your Sip number. Google Voice does the same thing for free, and I’ll explain how to set that up.
Part Three: Set up forwarding from Google Voice to Gizmo
- Log into your Google Voice account. Click “Settings” then “Phones.”
- Click “Add Phone.”
- You’ll be asked to enter the type of phone, the number, and a phone name that you select. Make sure you select “Gizmo” under phone type. Enter your 11 digit Gizmo Sip number. (This is the number I told you to write down in Part Two. If you didn’t write it down, return to Part Two step 3.)
- Click “Save.” After you click “Save,” a message will pop up telling you that the number needs to be verified. A 2-digit code will be displayed.
- Make sure the Gizmo softphone you downloaded to your desktop is open and logged in, and your speakers are turned on.
- Click “Connect.” Google Voice will call the phone number. Your Gizmo desktop client will ring. When you answer, you will be asked to enter the code displayed on the website. This part is a little tricky, because you have to find and open the dialpad on your softphone. Look for a button with a triangle with the point facing down. This is the “Options” button. Click it and select “Sound Blasts” from the drop-down menu. This will bring up the dialpad, which you can use to enter the verification code. After you have entered the code, you will be told, “your forwarding phone is set up. Goodbye.”
Part Four: Install and configure iDialer and iContact
iDialer is a free dialpad for your Windows Mobile phone that integrates with Google Voice. After you’ve installed it, you will use a second program to automatically configure it. iContact integrates your phone contact list into iDialer, and provides additional functionality for Google Voice calling.
During the installation process, you’ll be given the choice of installing each program to your device memory or to the storage card. I recommend installing to the storage card to save space on your phone’s limited internal memory.
I’ll walk you through the process.
- Go to http://www.supware.net/iDialer/. Scroll down to where it says “Download – Google Voice version. Click on “iDialer-gv.cab.” Save this file to your desktop.
- Go to http://www.supware.net/iContact/. Click on “iContact.cab” and save it to your desktop.
- Go to http://www.supware.net/iDialer/config/. You will see a set of 5 dropdown menus, labelled “Service 1″ through “Service 5.” Under Service 1, select “Standard (Phone)” and give it a name in the “Title” field. Under Service 2, select “Google Voice (Callback).” Then enter your 10 digit cell number in the “Callback Number” field and give it a name in the “Title” field. If you are using a Gizmo5 account, under Service 3, select “Google Voice (Callback),” and enter your 11 digit Gizmo Sip number. Repeat the process until you’ve entered all your forwarding phone numbers. Click “Generate Cab.” When the download dialog pops up, save the file (iDialer-config.cab) to your desktop.
- Use your USB cable or storage card to transfer the .cab files to your phone. Use your phone’s File Explorer to navigate to where you saved the files.
- Run iDialer-gv.cab. Follow the onscreen prompts to install the program.
- When installation has completed, find the iDialer icon under your Start or Programs menu, and tap it. Enter your Google Voice username and password at the prompt. Then close the program.
- Open your phone’s File Explorer and return to where you saved the .cab files.
- Run iContact.cab. Follow the onscreen prompts to install the program.
- Run iDialer-config.cab. Follow the onscreen prompts to install the program.
- Return to your Start or Programs menu and reopen iDialer. If you installed all three .cab files, you should now see a dialpad with a row of buttons underneath. Notice also the green “Call” button at the bottom of the dialpad. Underneath the word “Call” you should see the name of one of your forwarding phones in small letters. Use the button that looks like a phone to cycle through your forwarding phone numbers. Each time you press the button, the phone name on your Call button should change.
- Make a test call by selecting your cell phone, entering a number on the dialpad, and pressing the Call button. After a few seconds, the dialpad will close and your cell phone will ring. When you answer your phone, Google Voice will place the call to the number you dialed, and the person you called will see your Google Voice number on their caller ID.
Part Five: Install and Configure Fring
Note: I recommend installing Fring to your device memory rather than to your memory card.
Fring is a free VoIP and chat client for Windows Mobile. This is how you’ll make Google Voice calls without using your minutes. Theoretically, any VoIP client that uses the SIP protocol should be compatible and can be used in place of Fring.
Unfortunately, Fring doesn’t integrate perfectly with your phone’s regular phone speaker. You have the choice of using speakerphone or a Bluetooth headset. Also, voice calls take precedence over Fring calls, so if someone calls your cell phone during a Fring VoIP call, your Fring call will be disconnected.
Update: If you’re configuring Fring to use your SipGate account, follow the instructions below, but substitute your SipGate SIP credentials. To find them, sign into your SipGate account, click Settings, then SIP Credentials in the rightmost column. A popup will appear with your SIP credentials, which you can print if you wish. Use “sipgate.com” as your proxy.
- Go to http://www.fring.com/default.asp. Click “Download Fring to your mobile,” then follow the instructions to get the install program. You’ll have to specify what device you are using and choose whether you want to install from your desktop or from a .cab file on the phone. This part of the process will vary depending on your choices, so I’m not going to give detailed instructions. If you have any difficulty downloading or installing Fring, here’s a link to the user manual: http://www.fring.com/support/user_guide/fring_user_manual_Windows_Mobile_334.pdf
- Once you’ve installed Fring, you need to configure it with your SIP settings. To do this, select the rightmost tab from the 3 tabs at the bottom of the screen. This is the “Add-ons” tab. From the list, double-tap “SIP.” If you’re using Gizmo, then double-tap “Gizmo.” If you’re using SipGate, double-tap “Other.”
- Under “Username” enter your 11 digit Gizmo SIP number. If you don’t know what this is, go back to Part Two Step 3 for instructions on how to find it. If you’re using Sipgate, enter your SipGate SIP-ID.
- Enter your password in the “Password” field.
- Under “Proxy,” enter “email@example.com” if you’re using Gizmo, and “sipgate.com” if you’re using SipGate.
- Tap “Subscribe.”
Part Six: Place calls using Fring and iDialer
This is the part where we put all the pieces together so you can make free Google Voice calls without using your cell phone minutes.
Gizmo does not charge for incoming calls. If you’ve configured your account for Google Voice calling, the first 3 minutes of each outgoing call are free. After that you pay a per minute rate. We’re going to get around this by using iDialer to originate calls through Google Voice so that Gizmo treats each call as a free incoming call.
Here’s how you place calls:
- Open Fring and leave it running.
- Open iDialer.
- Choose a contact or enter a phone number.
- Press the phone icon until your Gizmo number is listed in the green Call button.
- Press the green Call button. iDialer will close and Fring will ring. After you answer, Google Voice will ring the person you are calling.
If iDialer doesn’t work properly, you can use the Google Voice mobile interface to place calls. Go to http://www.google.com/voice/m/. Under “Settings” tap “My Mobile Number,” select your SipGate phone from the options and tap “Save.” Now, when you place a call from the mobile interface, it will ring your SipGate/Fring phone before connecting you.
Switching between 3G and wifi
Fring works on AT&T’s 3G network, as well as on wifi. To switch from one to the other, go to the Buddies (leftmost) tab in Fring, tap “Menu” then “Change Connection.” To use wifi, select “Search for WLAN.” To use AT&T’s 3G network, select “MEdia Net.” Then tap “Connect.”
Part Seven: Additional Options for Google Voice and iDialer
Send and receive texts through Google Voice
From your mobile phone’s browser, go to http://www.google.com/voice/m. This the mobile version of the Google Voice web interface. From there, you can send and receive text messages, view your call history and voicemail transcriptions, and originate calls.
Make Google Voice calls without Fring
If you want to make a regular cellular call but have Google Voice show up as your outgoing caller ID, open iDialer, press the phone icon to select a Google Voice callback to your cell phone, then enter the number or select a contact and press “Call.” iDialer will close, your cell will ring, and the call will go through after you answer.
Unlimited calls without using Fring
If you have a plan that includes unlimited calling to certain numbers, such as T-Mobile’s MyFaves, you can get unlimited calling to all your contacts by setting your Google Voice numbers as one of your faves, placing all your calls through Google Voice and having all your contacts call you at your Google Voice number instead of your cell number.
Use iDialer to make regular cellular calls
If you followed my instructions for configuring iDialer, one of your dialing options will be to place normal cellular calls without using Google Voice. Just press the phone icon until you see the title you entered for “Standard (Phone),” enter a phone number or choose a contact, then press the Call button.
Change iDialer dialing options
If at any time you wish to add, remove, or modify your iDialer dialing options, you can do so by returning to http://www.supware.net/iDialer/config/. Just enter your new preferences, click “Generate CAB,” download the .cab file and run it on your phone. The next time you use iDialer, your new preferences will show up.
iDialer can also be used with PortSIP, JaJah, calling cards, and Google Voice’s calling card option.
Use Google Voice as your landline
If you have an analog telephone adapter, you can configure it for use with Google Voice and your regular landline telephone.
Use Google Voice with your Nokia Internet Tablet
If you have a Nokia N-series internet tablet, you can configure it for use as a wifi phone using Google Voice and Gizmo.
Make cheap international calls
Domestic US calls with Google Voice are free. You can also make international calls starting at about 2 cents per minute if you buy calling credit with GV. Log into your Google Voice account at http://www.google.com/voice/ and go to Settings -> Billing -> Add Credit.
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