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Old May 22nd, 2011, 01:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Prepaid Phone as Android powered music player

OK, let me lay some background info by letting everyone know that I have no experience with any android devices or anything similar. That's why I'm asking for help from those of you with some first-hand knowledge.

My current MP3 player is a 20GB iPod 3G that I bought used in 2005. It still works fine but it uses a mechanical hard drive, so it tends to skip if I want to use it while exercising. I was looking at buying a 32GB refurbed iPod Touch as a replacement. After doing a bit more research, I see I can get a lower-end android phone for about the same price (Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V).

My goal is to have an iPod Touch-like device, possibly with GPS functions but with no recurring monthly charges. So I would buy the device, but not buy minutes or pay for a monthly plan. All of my "data" usage would be via WiFi.

How much of this is possible, ie., how many android apps/features require the device to be an active phone and how much hassle is it to make a device work in this manner. If it's possible, are some devices better suited to this task than others? For example, would I be better off buying a used verizon Droid...

Thanks for any advice and personal experiences.

-Dylan

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Old June 8th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default It Works!

Ok, so I didn't get much feedback from folks here, but I did go ahead with this idea and here's what I learned...

First, I bought an LG Optimus V (Virgin Mobile) from Best Buy. I also bought a $25 prepaid card, but I haven't used it yet.

When I got home I charged up the battery and got it online with my home wifi. Browser, Gmail, Email, Youtube all worked great...basically everything that needed a data connection worked right out of the box. And I still haven't even activated the phone.

Next I tried navigation. I'm almost certain that it was set to use GPS by default, but all the location based apps worked great from my wifi with GPS-based location. Google maps, navigation, latitude, etc. all worked. Since then I have tried using cell-based navigation (still without activation of the phone) and I'm pretty sure that works also. Unfortunately, I need a wifi data like at the same time, so I can only use location based services while connected to a wifi network. Not the most useful, but good to know.

The first night I re-charged the phone and set it aside for the night. When I woke up the battery was half dead. Turns out I left the GPS on all night. I used that experience to do a little power conservation research and installed an app called "quick settings". Works great and gives easy access to all of the most-used settings like wifi, bluetooth, GPS, backlight, etc. I highly recommend this app.

That night I installed doubleTwist...probably the biggest single reason I went ahead with this idea was doubleTwist. I installed the desktop version on my iMac and imported my iTunes library and playlists. After I plugged in my Optimus and selected the playlists I wanted, it synced with the doubleTwist app on the phone and voila!...all my favorite music and playlists from iTunes on my new mp3 player.

Today I wanted to test the battery life when used as a media player. I got to work at 7 and by 7:30 I had plugged in some headphones and started up the music player. I had the volume set somewhere just under 50% and I checked in on it ever few hours to make sure it was still playing. I let it keep playing music even after I left work. When I finally shut down doubleTwist at 7:30 pm I still had 50% battery left. Its now 9:45 and my wife has been playing games since I turned off the music. battery is down to 27%. During the whole day I used "Quick Settings" to keep the backlight turned down and most other functions turned off.

And I still haven't activated the phone. I plan to do that tomorrow so I can use 3G data and navigation for the next month when I will be traveling.

The bottom line is it works, and it works well. For $200 and the cost of a microSD card I have the equivalent of a $300 iPod Touch. And IF and WHEN I choose, i can spend $25 and get unlimited 3G data use. A huge advantage over the iPod. And the battery life is great compared to my antique 3rd generation iPod.

-DC
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Old June 8th, 2011, 10:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Glad its working out for ya Welcome to the Android forums.
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Old June 9th, 2011, 03:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes it works very well. I've been doing this since I have several Android devices laying around. Gotta love Android!!!
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