p>Ever since I got my IPod Touch, I've been endeavoring to turn it into an IPhone.
But why pay for something when you can get it for free? Well, that's a great question Martin. In comes a new app called Talkatone. This particular app utilizes Google's free internet phone calling. It's compatible with all current IDevices running IOS 4.x. So, it's like a friendly gateway into Google Voice. Woe back Canadians. Yes, I know we don't have access to Google Voice. In fact, we sort of do, minus a phone number, voicemail, call forwarding, etc. No bells and whistles, but we can make outgoing calls and we can see the history of said calls.
Before you can use Talkatone, you need to setup Google to enable internet calling. First, you need a Gmail account. If you already have one, you're ahead of the game. You can skip this step. Otherwise, go here and fill out the online form:
It's the typical basic form which is quite accessible. Screen reader users shouldn't have any problems. There's even an audio captia, so it's all good.
Now that you've opened your account, sign in. You will be greeted with your Gmail Inbox. Make sure that the Gmail account is set to the Standard look. This ensures that the calling function is turned on. Due to technology restraints the calling feature is not available in the "basic Html" Gmail version.
Making your first call:
Please note, you'll need a microphone for this step. Unless you just want to test the system; IE call someone and hang-up, (My poor parents).
Making your first call with a screen reader could be a bit of a challenge. I've tried it on 2 different computers and have had varying results. Here's what works for me presently.
- Press the screen reader landmark key until you hear "complementary landmark". The landmark key in JAWS and NVDA is the semi colon.
- Once there, press the letter F to get to the "Search, add, or invite" edit box. If your edit mode doesn't turn on automatically, press ENTER. You are now ready to type in your first phone number.
- Call whomever you want. Preferably some unsuspecting victim like a member of your family; (did I mention my poor parents?).
- Have a quick chat, or just hang up once connected. Congratulations, it's your first online phone call.
If the above doesn't work for you. I would suggest trying NVDA with the Gmail page. Instead of using the edit box as per above, find the "Call Phone" link and press ENTER. You can then type in the phone number that you wish to call and press ENTER.
But wait there's more:
Got Gmail account? Check.
Made first online Phone call? Check
Got a Google Voice Account? See next step.
For some of you, this will be enough to amuse you for hours. But remember, our goal was to make phone calls from IDevices. We now need to open up a Google Voice account. Having made your phone call above has actually created it. Now you only need to validate the account.
This is very easy since you simply need to use your Google email address and password.
- Point your browser to the following link:
Remember Canadians, you don't get a Google Voice phone number. This means, you can make phone calls, but you can't receive them; through your IDevices anyway. However, you do get to see your call history. So, sign in and poke around for a while.
Getting back to your IDevice:
Yes, I haven't forgotten the main purpose of this entry.
- Make sure your IDevice is connected to the internet, either by G3 or wireless service.
- Download and install the Talkatone app from the Apple IStore.
For more information on how to install apps on your IDevice visit the following resource from Vision Australia:
This is a treasure trove of podcasts on all sorts of IDevice topics.
- Once installed, launch the Talkatone application. You will be asked for your Gmail Address and password. Once this is done, you are set.
Making a call:
You still with us? I know, a lot of steps. Just remember, everything above is preliminary nerdy setup. You only have to do it once.
- Explore the main screen. There's a settings icon, a contacts icon, a page icon and then a list of contacts. We'll concentrate on the contacts icon. I'll let you explore the rest on your own.
- Double tap the contacts icon. Voiceover will not indicate that the screen has changed, but it indeed has.
- Slide your finger around the screen until you hear, "VoIP Call".
- Do a single tap on this icon to bring up the dial pad.
Please note, the buttons on the number pad are not labeled. All they say is: button button button, and so on. I have brought this to their attention. The buttons are placed like a normal dial pad, so once you dial out a few times, you get used to it. Go ahead and dial a number.
- Before you click the call button, (which is labeled and found below the 0 button), you might want to tap on the "add KNOPKA" button. This button is located to the left of the call button. It lets you add the dialed number to your contacts; therefore making it easier to dial the next time. Back to calling.
- Tap the "call" button and voila. You will be connected with your party within a few seconds.
So there you have it. Free internet calling via your IDevice while using the Google Voice service. Isn't merging technologies exciting? Next, I'll show you how to incorporate your IDevice right into your cranium. I am borg, hear me roar.