“Popcorn Buzz, ” a free Android app, lets you talk to 200 friends at once using either your phone’s Wi-Fi or cellular connection. To set it up, you send your friends a link. Or if you’re already using “Line,” an app owned by the same company, you can access your existing friend list.
A company called “KnowRoaming” makes calls cheaper for international travelers by selling a $30 SIM card that automatically switches between providers to eliminate roaming fees. It’s thin and sits on top of your regular phone card, so you never have to take it out.
One of the things we like best about our Samsung smart phone is not having a contract. We have a T-Mobile prepaid phone plan and can walk away any time. But what if you signed up for one of those multi-year contracts? You are married to your phone.
We won’t forget the time Joy racked up a $264 hotel phone bill for three hours of casual conversation with a girl friend. She’d run out of minutes on her smart phone, so she decided to switch to the hotel phone. A new phone plan from Virgin Mobile would have skipped that.
“Qik” is a new Skype app is for sending short video messages to groups of friends. Skype was an early conduit for free video calls. Until now it was used mainly for long — 40 minutes or so — calls. Qik limits you to 42 second calls that don’t take up more than 5 megabytes of space on the recipient’s phone. It competes directly with WhatsApp and SnapChat.
Remind101 — After a high school principal reminded us of the text messaging app “Group Me,” a teacher wrote with another suggestion: “Remind101.” This is free from Remind101.com and lets you send text messages to any group. They can’t reply. He just wanted to notify parents and teachers of events; he doesn’t really want to hear back.
Engaging in a Skype video chat with a group, where each person is in a different location, used to be part of their premium service. Now it’s free. To start, locate one of your friends on Skype. Then click the plus sign next to their name and choose “add people.” Start adding them and when you’re finished, click the call icon. For now, it works with PC, Mac and the Xbox One. Depending on the device, you can call people in three to 10 locations.