Background – in 2009 I bailed on the iPhone. Too many AT&T issues. And more importantly, I ported my mobile number to Google Voice. If I wanted to use that phone number with a mobile phone (and I did), I needed a phone that integrated with Google Voice natively. Apple didn’t allow that.
Google Voice is an awesome service because it allows me to set which phones ring whenever someone calls that number. If you call me on my mobile number it might ring one of many cell phones that I have, or Skype (via SkypeIn), or my home phone, or on Gmail. I can send and receive text messages via my browser, and voicemails are auto-transcribed (which can be hilarious).
I could still use Google Voice with an iPhone. Calls can easily be forwarded to any phone, including an iPhone, and the Google Voice iPhone app lets you place calls as well. But without native integration into the address book and, crucially, the call log, you always have to open the Google Voice app to make any calls. You can’t simply call someone back from your call log, which is a good percentage of my outgoing calls.
So I went all Android in 2009 and have been there ever since. My current phone is the original Nexus. I still think that’s the best Android phone on the market today, and it’s nearly two years old.
Anyhow, earlier this year Google announced deal with Sprint that allows any Sprint customer to make their phone number also a Google Voice number. Or, if you already use Google Voice, you can make the phone number associated with the phone the same number.
Bingo. No app needed. And it works with the new iPhone 4S, too, I’m told from someone at Google (I’ll check it myself tomorrow). Google doesn’t need Apple’s permission to take over the address book and call log. They’ve moved down the stack to control the device’s actual phone number.
What an amazing world we live in. Next week, fingers crossed, I’ll be using an iPhone with Google Voice natively. The cherry on top is that AT&T will be nowhere in sight. Sure, in a few months I’ll be ranting (again) about how awful Sprint is in general. But first, the honeymoon.