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Can You Use A Smartphone As Wi-Fi Only?

Can You Use A Smartphone As Wi-Fi Only?

android_phone A friend of mine visited Florida all last week and this friend’s only computer that was taken was an iPod Touch, which most of you know as “an iPhone without the phone part”. For all intents and purposes, that’s a fairly accurate description of what an iPod Touch is.

Something that truly amazes me about iPod Touches and other devices with similar functionality is how well they perform as a portable computer. True, you don’t have a keyboard or mouse, but a modern touch device of this type is more or less a PDA on steroids – with Wi-Fi connectivity mind you.

Today’s smartphones aren’t phones. They’re pocket computers. Darn good ones, too. You truly realize this when you watch someone use something like an iPod Touch on Wi-Fi as they’re able to get quite a lot done in a very small package.

You’ve heard that very old and very tired phrase that there’s a large amount of people that “want a computer that surfs the web and checks email”. Well, a modern mobile touch device is exactly that with many other added goodies in the form of apps.

How does one get a smartphone with Wi-Fi capability that doesn’t require phone service?

The easiest purchase to make to get a pocket computer that hooks up to Wi-Fi easily is the iPod Touch. The biggest drawback however is that it doesn’t have a microphone so you can’t (as far as I’m aware) use it for talking to anyone such as through an instant messenger service or Skype.

There are plenty of no-contract phones (that link goes cheapest-to-most-expensive) available however and some of them do allow you to use them as a Wi-Fi-only device.

It does take some research (usually by searching Google for “[phone make/model] wi-fi”) to see if said phone will operate all-Wi-Fi-and-no-carrier style. Some have the prerequisite of needing a wireless carrier just to enable the Wi-Fi. Stupid, but true. But there are a few that don’t require the carrier and you can use the phone in no-phone mode with just Wi-Fi. If you find one that does allow this, then yes, I do suggest buying it even if it’s just for use around the house. Consider that they turn on almost instantly, will connect to your existing Wi-Fi router and are really easy to do things like basic browsing and email right from the couch without having to open up a laptop.

If that’s doesn’t spell out convenience, I don’t know what does.

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One thought on “Can You Use A Smartphone As Wi-Fi Only?”

Leichter says:
All currently sold iPod Touches *do* have microphones. Front facing cameras, too.

The Skype app is officially available on the Touch, as is Apple’s own video chat app.

Rich says:
I stand corrected – thanks for the info.
Mark says:
Yes and you can also purchase a headset from Apple that has a built in mike too.  When I was temporarily unemployed and didn’t want to purchase a phone I tried it and it worked rather well with my iPhone 3.  Also used a service provider but that was a year ago and I don’t remember who it was.  Then you can use skype or a similar product.  Actually works pretty well.

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Nov 21, 2011

643 Articles Published