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I have a flip phone, but I would go to Android Phone if there is an app that lets me communicate with my grandkids face to face through the phone. Over Christmas, my son was able to have his in laws watch the grandkids opening their gifts over the phone with his iPhone. Does the Play Store have anything like that?
Thanks for your help!
– Mary (Sheridan)
Mary, thanks for your question! Google’s Play Store has a couple different options.
First, an explanation why Apple’s products are not the answer. They’re native applications are not compatible with devices that are not Apple. FaceTime is an Apple only product, you have to have an Apple product (Mac, iPad, iPhone, and/or iTouch) to make it work.
Apple locks everything down. You pay for more applications and many of their applications can only be used with their products… Like FaceTime. (Heck, they made everyone buy new connector cables with their last iPhone release. Another $25 for a power/connector cable. Wo Hoo!)
Android is open source, which means…
We created Android in response to our own experiences launching mobile apps. We wanted to make sure that there would always be an open platform available for carriers, OEMs, and developers to use to make their innovative ideas a reality. We wanted to make sure that there was no central point of failure, where one industry player could restrict or control the innovations of any other. The solution we chose was an open and open-source platform.
The goal of the Android Open Source Project is to create a successful real-world product that improves the mobile experience for end users.
On to video conferencing solutions!!
Google + is Google’s social network with “facetime-like” additions. You can use on a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone and/or Android tablet/phone. It’s powered by your “Google” account. I use hangouts frequently… mainly on the laptop. I found a hangout plug-in called “A Story Before Bed” which allows my mother to read to the grandkids while they follow along with the words and pictures. Again, this works with the desktop/laptop version… The mobile version of hangouts will just show video (hopefully they will allow plugins in the future releases.) Additionally, you can add multiple people to your hangout (including people via a phonecall for free!)
Skype, now a Microsoft product, is a program you can download on your computer and/or smartphone/tablet. You would need both the iPhone and Android to have Skype installed and a Skype username. This is probably the most popular video communication application. You can do one on one video conferencing for free, if you want to add more people (on video) you will need to pay for this service (you can conference in several people using ‘voice only.’) It is a VOIP service, meaning they compete with Vonage, Magic Jack, and other “voice over IP (internet)” services.
Make sure the device you purchase has a “front facing” camera. This will allow you to video conference easily.
Good luck Mary!
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