smartphone requirement?

Discussion in 'Prime Audio, Electronics, and Infotainment' started by bruceha_2000, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    I have a cheap TracFone flip. If I want to use all the features of my new 2018 Prime Advanced apparently I have to buy a smartphone. I have no other need for such a thing so I would like to go cheap. I found a site that shows phone compatibility Toyota - Entune

    TracFone here uses Verizon and they have 2 cheap phones:
    Samsung Galaxy J7 Sky Pro (S727VL) and Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro (S327VL)
    The Toyota page says the J7 V (SM-J727V) and Galaxy J3 Eclipse (SM-J327V) are compatible with the car.

    They seem the same based on the 327 and 727 numbers but the TracFone chat lady said the ones specified by Toyota are OS 6 and the TracFone ones are OS 7. Also that OS 9 is the latest.

    I'm trying to make sense of all this. Does anyone know if the OS 7 versions of the phones will work in my car? I REALLY don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a phone and surely won't spend many hundreds of dollars annually on a service plan.

    Thanks,
    Bruce
     
  2. bamike

    bamike Junior Member

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    You bought the most expensive trim prime available, the advanced, which is 4K more than the premium and almost 6k more than the plus, and you don’t want to spend $200 on a smartphone?

    Look on slickdeals, a new smartphone is much cheaper than the big name Apple and Samsung flagships that you see on tv. Here’s one brand new from Best Buy for $150.
    32GB Motorola Moto X4 Unlocked Smartphone + $40 Cricket Prepaid Card - Slickdeals.net

    As far as a service plan, google red pocket or mint mobile. They will send you a SIM card and it will cost you less than $25 a month. They use Verizon and T-Mobile networks respectively.

    Sprint is also running a promotion for one year free. All you pay monthly is the taxes on the line, less than $6 month.
    Sprint BYOD: 1-Year Unlimited Talk, Text & Data - Slickdeals.net

    If you just want a phone for entune, buy one cheap on swappa.com. You can buy a working used smartphone cheap on that website. It’s like eBay for phones with buyer protection.
     
    #2 bamike, Mar 5, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  3. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    I don't have Advanced trim, so I never used Entune's Advanced app. To be honest, even if I did have Advanced trim, I would not use Entune for anything. I currently do not use Entune on my car (Premium trim). That said, OS7, 8, 9 you are referring are Android system 7 (Nugat), 8 (Oreo), and 9 (Pie). AFAIK, as long as the Entune App is available for your phone, it should work, and I know it is compatible with Android 7, 8, and 9. And you don't have to use phone listed in Toyota's compatibility list. Almost any Android phone even cheap sub $100 ones will work. That said, if you currently use TracFone with a feature phone, you probably have only talk and text service. Upgrading it to a smartphone means you will now have to pay for the data. Depending on how much data you use, your cost can be substantially higher than what you are paying now. If you plan to use lot of data, you may be better off finding a different carrier. IIRC TracFone's handsets are unlockable. If you buy a phone from TracFone and decide to switch to a different carrier, you can't use it. Just a thought.

    edit: After a quick search, I found out that now TracFone can be unlocked if conditions are met. Still not easy, but it seems to be better than a few years ago. I always buy used factory unlocked phones from ebay very cheap and have only used MVNO that allow BYO phone.
    TracfoneReviewer: How to Unlock your Tracfone Cell Phone
     
    #3 Salamander_King, Mar 5, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
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  4. illumiN8i

    illumiN8i Member

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    The Entune app will most likely work on any smartphone, even ones that are not listed by Toyota as officially tested and compatible. My Google Pixel 2 has Android OS version 9 and it works just fine with Entune and the Prime Advanced apps. If the phone carrier has a return policy, you could buy the phone, and return it if it ends up being incompatible with the Entune app. I'm using Verizon Prepaid. $45/month (plus taxes) for 15GB of data (current promotion).
     
  5. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    I am willing to pay for things I need and have use for, I have no use for a smartphone other than to use apps in the car. Guess I better find out if there are any apps I actually would use, I don't know what is available because without a smartphone you get squat. Maybe I'm not missing anything?

    I currently have over 3K minutes and 13 months of service on my TracFone. Those would transfer to a smartphone. I definitely don't need more minutes or time so I could buy their 30 day/200 minutes/500 texts/500MB data smartphone plan for $15 and add more data as needed at $10/gig. I bet I haven't sent even 50 texts in all the years I've had a cell phone (yeah, I'm old). The cheapest way on TracFone to get time with a stupid phone if you already have way too many minutes is to buy the 30 day/30 minute card for $10, they always ask if you want to add another 365 days of service for $50. So my current phone cost is $4.62/month. Substantially better than $50/month. That $600/year could be used to buy things I need/want!
     
  6. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    You are exactly like me. I use to have TracFone feature phone with huge amount of minute before switching to a smartphone. Like you, I don't use mobile phone that much and minute just kept building up to my phone. Back when TracFone first introduced smart phones, there line-up was so bad, I could not convince myself to use their offered devices. Ever since I switched to a smart phone which I now own several of them, the one I use as actual phone is an old Windows phone with H2O sim on pay as you go plan. For H2O pay-as-you-go plan, the minimum recharge required is $10 for every 90 days of service. Call and text are 5 cents/min or text, but data is 10 cents/MB. Since the data connection on this plan is too expensive, I do not use this phone for data unless I absolutely have to. Basically $10 recharge gives me 200 min of talk or 200 text, but I hardly use that much in any given 90 days service period, I now have more than $100 credit left on my account and I am on auto pay plan to pay $8.50 (15% discount for $10 worth of credit) for every 90 days. Thus my mobile phone bill is $2.83/mo. I also have another android phone I use only with DATA. this one is with Freedompop sim. The company offers sim kit that gives totally free LTE data connection up to 1GB/mo. I have never exceeded 1GB/mo of data usage, and have not paid a penny in last 4 years.
     
  7. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    How do they make money if they don't charge for the service?
     
  8. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    They have a higher level of data and service that cost money just like any other MVNO. For most people, their FREE basic plan is not enough data, and their unlimited call and text is voip which is not as reliable as cellular calls, and it drains a battery. The basic free plan is not for everyone, but it works perfectly for me. Here is a review article. 2019 FreedomPop Review — Is Free Too Good to Be True?
     
  9. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    TracFone doesn't work in Canada and we can't even call/text cell phones in Canada though there are a lot of countries TF will allow you to call/text into a cell phone. I don't understand that. Ran into that when daughter came home for her winter break a couple of weeks ago. I had no idea where I was to meet her at the Montreal Airport. It worked out but I was late (lots of folks at the border crossing) and I couldn't call and tell her. She had to get a phone in Canada that has both Canada and US service. Those exist in the US but the plans she found would cancel if the phone wasn't in the USA after a certain period of time which she would potentially exceed while at school, really stupid. And of course they are pricey plans, not something I want to pay for. Her 'free' Canadian phone is about US $100/mo but drops some after 2 years. Yeah, the phone is free if you ignore the fact that you are buying it over time.

    Does FreedomPop work in Canada or only USA? IF it works in Canada I might spring for it now since we need to drive up to New Brunswick to pick up our daughter at Mount Allison University next month. I spent many a year driving around without a cell phone ('cause I'm old and they didn't exist) just fine but I feel kind of exposed doing so now, especially in the long relatively unpopulated parts of upper Maine and New Brunswick.
     
  10. padroo

    padroo Senior Member

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    I think a small tablet may do what you want to do and skip the phone.
     
  11. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    How is the tablet going to make phone calls? Or are you suggesting that a tablet could run the Entune Apps as could a smart phone?
     
  12. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    I don't think it works in Canada. FreedomPop uses AT&T for GSM and Sprint for CDMA networks. I don't think AT&T nor Sprint will allow international roaming on MVNO utilizing foreign local networks. Although IIRC Freedompop do offer service in the UK. For short term, you can always pick up SIM card with some prepaid call, text, and data in most of the major cities, especially at an airport. As long as you have SIM unlocked international version of a phone that is supported in that country, you can use it. For a long term use like your daughter's case, yeah find cheap SIM once she settles, and forget about being able to use it in both countries. Just use two phones and two services or buy an unlocked dual sim phone and have two different services.

    Edit: I checked FreedomPop site. Here is the answer to your question. In short, FreedomPop service is not supported in CANADA. Global SIM FAQ

    I think what he is suggesting is to use WiFi and use text or e-mail in that situation. The most major airport now has free WiFi. And for the second part of your question, yes tablet can be used for Entune Apps, however, if the tablet does not have cellular data capability, it cannot be used for Advanced App when you are not on WiFi.
     
    #12 Salamander_King, Mar 9, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
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  13. prius4-me

    prius4-me Junior Member

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    The Galaxy J7 Sky Pro works for me in Denver. They were $50 new on Amazon the other day.
     
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  14. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    Thanks.

    I looked at FreedomPop and they didn't have any GSM phones other than the pricey iPhones. So I stuck with TracFone. Ended up with a Motorola that is on the Toyota list. I can unlock it once I've had it for a year. Supposedly then I can get a Canadian SIM card for when I am there. I have 4,200+ minutes on my current flip phone (who's battery has decided not to hold charge long even when turned off). Not only can I transfer my 375 service days and those minutes, the 4,200+ minutes also converts to 4,200+ texts AND 4,200+ kb of data. Thus I won't need to buy anything until I need to add time in a year. At that point I presume I could also switch to FreedomPop for free service if I want.
     
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  15. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    For Freedmpop and most MVNO, you don't have to buy a device from the provider. Any unlocked phone would have worked. Tracfone is very restrictive in that regard. But, if you are happy with Tracfone, I wish you good luck with it. Just remember that 4200 min of talk or 4200 texts is a lot for someone like you and me but once you start using DATA, 4200 kb is NOTHING. That is only 4.2 Mb. Browsing a few pages of the web will use it up. Depending on how you have set the phone up, if you have notification to be sent to your phone using cellular data, without knowing you will use up the remaining funds and you will have to recharge it very quickly and frequently. I have my wife's smartphone configured not to use any cellular data with our H2O SIM (5 cents/talk or text, 10 cents/MB of data). My wife does have ipad with Freedompop cellular for data, but do not use the phone with data usually. One time her phone's setting was changed inadvertently to use cellular data with H2O sim. She usually uses only $10 (200 min of call) every few months, but with data on with her not knowing she was using that amount (100MB of data) within a few days.
     
    #15 Salamander_King, Mar 17, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  16. prius4-me

    prius4-me Junior Member

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    For most apps including the Prime Advanced apps, you do not even need to have a cellular plan or even activate the phone, you can just use wifi if you don't need a smartphone.
     
  17. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    Would that not require you to be within range of a wifi connection? Doesn't seem likely on the road.


    Hmmm, don't have the chat where the TracFone lady said what would transfer over. THOUGHT it converted to 4.2G so maybe she said 4,200 Mb?? If not, you are right @Salamander_King, I'll be buying a data card sooner than I would have thought necessary.
     
  18. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I suggest you do a thorough review of these features before changing phones. Some have found that only a few are useful, and it's possible your phone already supports those.

    You can do bluetooth handsfree pairing with some 15+ year old phones and that works fine... and you may not need more than that.
     
  19. prius4-me

    prius4-me Junior Member

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    Yes, definitely. That approach is a minimalist approach which would not work for most people. But the Prime Advanced does have the SOS feature so some might not care about having a phone on the road in that car.
     
  20. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    If 4.2GB is rolled over, you might be OK for a while. I never used more than 1GB of data a month, even when I was away from home for a week on a trip. Within the US there is plenty of free WiFi in most places I visit.

    I agree with you, but it seems he already has changed his phone.

    That's me. 99% of my smartphone connection is via WiFi. 1% of cellular data I use amount to about 500MB and it's free from Freedompop.
     
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