14 November 2013

An Android 'iPod'

I first posted this in December 2012, but it is still such a great idea that it deserves a second run..... with a little updating.  

My youngest son has asked for an iPod Touch for Christmas.  I know quite a few of his friends have them and I don’t really have a problem with him having one, except for the price.  Close to $300 is a bit much when he won't be happy if that’s the only present he gets, and I don’t want Santa getting the credit for giving him his favourite present!

So, I came up with a solution which will make us both happy.  I bought a new Android smart phone with a prepaid account on the same network that I use.  I didn't activate the phone and I didn't need to use the SIM card that came with it.  I just inserted the SIM from my phone, which worked immediately, to set up the phone and link to my Google Play account.  Once that was set up I removed the SIM.  With the phone connected to our home Wi-Fi I downloaded the games my son wants (Angry Birds Star Wars, Bad Piggies etc) from Google Play.  New games can be added whenever we like, but I still have control over what is downloaded because I have to enter my Google password as authorisation.

I had already downloaded the music my son wanted to my computer (I use Bandit.fm for music), so I connected the phone via USB to my computer and transferred the music to his new phone. 

Now my son will get what he wants for Christmas at a fraction of the cost of an iPod.  I paid $79 ($50 off the normal price) for a new Android 4.0 smart phone with a 3.5 inch screen, FM radio, MP3 player and as many games as he wants.  Without the SIM card it cannot be used as a phone and the only internet connection is at home when it can connect to our Wi-Fi (although I'm not going to let him know that).  Of course, when my son needs a phone in the next year or two I just need a new prepaid SIM card – he already has the phone.

If you’re upgrading your phone, your old phone can be a great boredom buster for your child – just download their favourite games and music - no SIM card required.  However, depending on the phone brand, if you don’t have access to Wi-Fi you’ll need to leave the SIM in the phone while you download the games so you can use Bluetooth to connect to Google Play.  Once the games are downloaded you can remove the SIM card. 

Unlike iPhones, you can buy Android phones with older versions of the Android operating system.  Make sure you buy one with Android 4.0 and higher, otherwise you'll find that a lot of games won't be able to run on the phone.  

Also, buy the highest capacity micro-SD card you can get, that way you can move the games over to the SD card and off the phone - Android phones are notorious for their lack of internal storage.

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