Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How turn your laptop into a cell phone replacement

cell phones, laptop, pc, calls, texts, whatsapp, android, technology

In my last post I explained how I survived a day without my phone and I think I mentioned how much I felt relaxed and worry-free or did I? :)
Anyway I also discovered that I missed some really important calls, texts and whatsapp messages, being the creative tech-savvy person I am, I had to figure out a way to continue receiving my calls, texts and whatsapp messages.

To continue receiving my phone calls I remembered that my carrier (cricket wireless) allows unconditional call forward free of charge which I have been using anyway to receive my voicemails through Google Voice because let's face it: Google is the best....and because I got all my voicemails in my e-mail readily transcribed so I didn't have to actually listen to them.
So I got cricket to unconditionally forward all my phone calls to my Google voice number, In that way I would receive all my phone calls in my Gmail, all what I had to do is just keep my Gmail in a tab open all the time and voila I got all my calls on my laptop without paying an extra cent.

This was the biggest problem because up until now I couldn't find a way to forward my texts, sure there are so many services that you can use to read and respond to your text messages from a PC but all of them require you to have your SIM card up and running in a phone.
however Google voice proved helpful when I needed to send texts from my laptop, the only downfall is that these texts would send from my Google voice number and not from my cricket wireless number.

This one was a bit tough but I got it to work, by setting up virtualbox on my laptop and running android in a virtual environment I finally had a working android system in a window on my PC by following howtogeek's guide.
the next obstacle on my way was that I couldn't install whatsapp from the play store because it wasn't designed to work on tablet environment that doesn't have a SIM card (stupid, i know) and to solve that I had to go to Whatsapp's website on the virtual machine and download the APK from there then install it. 
after that I just had to register with my phone number which I did but whatsapp uses a text message to verify your number which didn't work out in my case because I didn't have access to my texts (refer to the last paragraph and you'll know why)
after waiting for the verification text for about 5 minutes, Whatsapp allowed me to request a call to verify my number and when it did call me I received the call on my Gmail and got the verification code and in less than a minute whatsapp was up and running.

Of course with the laptop you don't get the mobility of a cell phone but it proves capable to save your day when you are in a situation like mine.


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