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Thread: Looking for a smartphone to use with wifi. No cell service.

  1. #1
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    Looking for a smartphone to use with wifi. No cell service.

    Kind of a specific request but.. I want a small very portable device I can use with wifi (cafe, home) for basic internet stuff, without having something bulky to carry around like a netbook or similar.

    I get free cell phone service through my job, so I am not interested in signing up for any cell service.

    Any smart phones out there that you would recommend (US market preferably) that I could use with wifi for internet usage, without needing to be subscribing to a wireless provider?

  2. #2
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    Re: Looking for a smartphone to use with wifi. No cell service.

    Howdy,

    Any Android phone can run Skype over WiFi.

  3. #3
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    Re: Looking for a smartphone to use with wifi. No cell service.

    Quote Originally Posted by HermanAB View Post
    Howdy,

    Any Android phone can run Skype over WiFi.
    Now, would I be able to pick up an Android phone and use it over wifi, without activating it with a wireless carrier?

    Going to buy the device second hand, so my main concern is if the device is somehow locked to only be usable at all, if it has wireless service.

  4. #4
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    Re: Looking for a smartphone to use with wifi. No cell service.

    I think your options are between Android tablets, or an iPod touch. I'm pretty sure anything else requires you to have both a voice and data plan in the states.

    iPod touch is probably your best bet. No need to subscribe to a 3G service, whereas the Android tablets usually are sold via wireless providers, and they ask for a 3G subscription.

    I think your only other option is finding an Verizon Android phone with a dirty/blocked ESN. Those phones are guaranteed not to work on Verizon's network, will work under different CDMA carriers, but can definitely pick up Wifi.
    Linux Registered User #457962

  5. #5
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    Re: Looking for a smartphone to use with wifi. No cell service.

    Quote Originally Posted by weasel fierce View Post
    Now, would I be able to pick up an Android phone and use it over wifi, without activating it with a wireless carrier?

    Going to buy the device second hand, so my main concern is if the device is somehow locked to only be usable at all, if it has wireless service.

    "wireless service"? do you mean 3g?

  6. #6
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    Re: Looking for a smartphone to use with wifi. No cell service.

    Let me clarify, because I think I explained it poorly.

    What I would like to do is pick up, second hand or whatever, a smart phone that will allow me to do some basic IM and simple web browsing over wifi, without having to have service with a cellular provider (AT&T, Sprint etc).

    I have in the past run into a few phones that refused to access even wifi, if they had not been activated with a cellular provider, which is what I am trying to avoid.

    Does that make more sense?

  7. #7
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    Re: Looking for a smartphone to use with wifi. No cell service.

    what about a nokia internet tablet. n800 and n810 would fit your needs (IM, web, email over wifi) and they are not phones.

    also they quite open, they run a debian derived distro, can run most linux apps (once recompiled for arm).

  8. #8
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    Re: Looking for a smartphone to use with wifi. No cell service.

    Quote Originally Posted by weasel fierce View Post
    Let me clarify, because I think I explained it poorly.

    What I would like to do is pick up, second hand or whatever, a smart phone that will allow me to do some basic IM and simple web browsing over wifi, without having to have service with a cellular provider (AT&T, Sprint etc).

    I have in the past run into a few phones that refused to access even wifi, if they had not been activated with a cellular provider, which is what I am trying to avoid.

    Does that make more sense?
    I'm still a little behind the latest technology, and I could be misunderstanding your objective, but I assume that there is wifi already available at the two locations you mentioned: home & cafč, and just the same as I can access the Internet with my laptop when situated in some or other 'wifi-hotspot', without my own ISP, your ambitions are to similarly access existing local wifi services, (not mobile broadband) from your phone?

    I hope that's the right idea, and apologise if I'm off-target.

    I do have an aircard for my laptop now, which lets me access mobile broadband through an ISP. That's already built into modern mobile phones. Before that, around a year ago, I went looking for an aircard and accidentally snalled up some little ZyXEL external USB wifi modem that DOES NOT do mobile broadband, but DOES do local wifi, (which is already builtin to my laptop, but it has a nice little cable and an adaptor so I can dangle the dongle out the window if my hotel room is a long way from the reception and I need the extra reception that the little laptop can't manage on her own.

    So, if there was a way for you to pick up one of these external modems, and an adaptor cable to go from standard USB to the correct plug for your phone's USB socket, you might possibly have some luck with accessing the Internet using the local service rather than an ISP.

    I'm probably off on some wild goose chase here, but if not, it would be worth having the correct cable to connect your phone to USB beforehand (***which might require the purchase of a new cable if you buy the phone second-hand***), and then test out the modem in the computer shop to make sure it does what you require before you spend all that money (probably around $20-30 I'd guess) on some external local wifi adaptor.


    ---o0o---


    *** Thinking poste-post, It would actually be the standard USB socket, (not the plug) that you'd need at the far end so that the USB wifi adaptor would plug in, and I dont think that Nokia et al. provide that sort of thing with new phones either. Maybe the plug, but NOT the socket.
    Last edited by Sean Moran; December 14th, 2010 at 10:42 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Looking for a smartphone to use with wifi. No cell service.

    Quote Originally Posted by weasel fierce View Post
    Let me clarify, because I think I explained it poorly.

    What I would like to do is pick up, second hand or whatever, a smart phone that will allow me to do some basic IM and simple web browsing over wifi, without having to have service with a cellular provider (AT&T, Sprint etc).

    I have in the past run into a few phones that refused to access even wifi, if they had not been activated with a cellular provider, which is what I am trying to avoid.

    Does that make more sense?
    If you buy a SIM-free Android phone, it will still work. You can have it connect to a wifi network and browse, download apps, etc. I have done this before.

    I'd strongly recommend you ask someone for their phone, take the SIM out and play with it to see what the experience is like.

  10. #10
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    Re: Looking for a smartphone to use with wifi. No cell service.

    Quote Originally Posted by weasel fierce View Post
    Kind of a specific request but.. I want a small very portable device I can use with wifi (cafe, home) for basic internet stuff, without having something bulky to carry around like a netbook or similar.

    I get free cell phone service through my job, so I am not interested in signing up for any cell service.

    Any smart phones out there that you would recommend (US market preferably) that I could use with wifi for internet usage, without needing to be subscribing to a wireless provider?
    Yes, just buy an unlocked Nexus One...mine works fine without carrier service. Yet I can only speak for the model I have which was made for ATT.

    Runs perfectly fine without the sim card, connects to all wifi.

    You can even use it as a wifi hub for up to 6 computers.
    Last edited by HappinessNow; December 14th, 2010 at 11:12 AM.
    "Mind what you have learned. Save you it can." ~ Yoda

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