Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The road to an Android landline

There is the prequel of got burned by Sunrocket, got a very cheap all in one cordless that doesn't work with caller ID from my "digital" phone company.  I tried and returned a very good SIP DECT phone.  And returning the latest Panasonic cordless for a restocking fee.  (Can't sell it on eBay or Amazon)  I'm still using my 900MHz cordless and talking CID answering machine.  That's a long story.  But the talk of getting crowded in the 900MHz spectrum and interference is bull shit.  It never happened and now may be I'm the only one in that band.  Well, that depends on where you live as well.

I had done some research.  It's doable but not straightforward.  You may not get high quality voice all the time.  But I have no doubt that my wife and kids can use it like the good old phone.  Indeed I think that will be easier as tablets are so popular.

The latest cordless are cool.  They can be used as a bluetooth headset for cell phones.  Basically you can take mobile phone calls using the phone at home.  But why?  The cell phone is capable of better voice, infinitely better user interface.  If you want comfort, you can always use a bluetooth headset.  And then the adapter.  ATA means analogue telephone adapter.  Not cool.  The DECT cordless specifications includes SIP VOIP and codecs.  But you need to get a SIP DECT phone.  DECT phones alone will be designed for your "analog" landline.

Google is confusing.  It has to be.  If it wants to be a carrier, it could get anti-trust treatment.  Of course other carriers are dealing with it carefully, like blocking Google Wallets.  The project with Dish to provide wireless data says it all.  Interestingly, the Google apps don't work very well on iPhones.  Now they have the hardware (Moto), the software powering more than half of the smartphones, whose owners are paying for the 4G network.  And they are carriers too!

All Androids are capable of wideband voices for over a year now, somebody said.  Android 4 and above is safe.  But I would think earlier models are OK if you need to hack it a bit.

Somebody said Google Voice only supports G.711, the narrowband codec fit for POTS.  That's surprising as I checked that Google Talk supports many wideband codecs.  Somebody else said that GV shouldn't matter if you do not use it "directly".  I sort of know that GV isn't an application, but some redirecting service that shouldn't negotiate the codec directly.

The bottom line is that I hear rather good quality.  The sipdroid reports that it is using G.722, the grandfather of wideband codecs.  It doesn't make a lot of sense as I was talking to my old phone on the old line.  That's the problem of echo, background noises, input and output levels.  Some apps just don't work.  But they can be overcame.  Somebody says G.722 isn't suitable for mobile data or Wifi because of packet loss.  Other codecs will be better.  But my Wifi is at home totally under my control.

Also, the Wifi range is roughly 100ft indoors while DECT is at least double or more.  I don't think that matters too much for my house.  Extenders can't cost much more than routers.  And you can always bring out the darn cell phone or the sim card when you are going to the extremes of your estate someday.  Also, the router should support the newer n standard and with more than 1 antenna.

First, the phone.  I decided against a tablet because that would not be suitable for kids' hands.  Games will always be played.  On the other hand a big phone will be good, with length and weight more similar to the old phone.  The longer distance between earpiece and mic might just be improving the echo problems.

A resolution of 720 HD will be preferred.  That's the highest resolution you can get now.  So my younger kids with nobody to call will not bother me to get a cell phone because they want to play games.  A decent front and back camera wouldn't hurt as they will be used for video phones.

Android 4.0 and above will be easier to maintain/update and likely wideband voice capable.  I would think dual core will be safe to run all the apps, codecs and play games at the same time.  Also I think Skype needed the power for peer to peer.

A Chinese made phone fit the bill.  It's 3G only without 4G.  But I don't need any G.  It cost about $200 if you are brave enough.  I was willing to risk it on DHgate but my bank didn't seem too eager.  I know paypal dropped them in August and never accepted the others.  Any my bank sort of intercepted the online transaction in the form of a security check.  I confirmed but they seemed to decline the payment anyway.  I ended up with several orders of the same thing.

Those guys have a different mentality and I don't blame everything on them.  It's like you made a honorable decision, and you cannot cancel in a few days' time.  What?  I didn't even paid!  Some companies over here asked for 50% restocking fee.  You are lucky if they accept returns.  Android Nazi's.

It's interesting what they are selling on their own sites inside China.  Of course the biggest promotions are on the famous Brands like Moto and Samsung and of course iWhatever.  Of course they cost more than from here.  They also classify phones into political incorrect catagories - Men's phone, Women's phone and Student's phone.  You will be humbled when you check your own model.  What do you think their idea on the under $100 Virgin's prepaid Android?  For Virgins?

The score for now.  1 returned SIP/DECT.  1 pair of link to cell Cordless on sale.  4 orders of the same 1280x720 4.5" Android.  One unconfirmed payment possibly declined.  I was willing to pay $50 extra for the same thing but now probably will not make it for Christmas.

Let you know how it goes.

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