Older smart phones with deactivated phone service are still perfectly good wireless web browsing PCs

Very mundane, but I just got a new Samsung Galaxy III S activated and was getting ready to shut off my Motorola Droid from which phone service had been removed when I noticed it was still able to browse on the wireless network.

Obvious in retrospect, but I never thought about it still being functional.

Very cool! Now I have an extra little PC around the house.

Isn’t the whole point of having wireless connectivity with a smartphone–apart from avoiding data charges–so that you get a better net connection? I wonder, however, how much better it really is. And I never know which connection the phone is using.

The strength of the connection depends entirely on the wireless and/or cell network you’re using. If you have the wireless symbol in your status bar, you’re using wireless. If you’re using a network, it’ll say H or 3G or 4G or something else, with up and down arrows indicating that there’s data transmitting. When you connect to wi-fi, that will disappear.

I have a Samsung Galaxy II that I use all of the time when I am wandering about the property.
You never know when a plant or fungus ID could come in handy.
And, I am never stumped at trivia!

Hey, I’m thinking about getting that Galaxy III, coming from a Droid X. My Verizon are says they aren’t shipping till the17th so I am waiting. How do you like yours? My #1 must-have for a phone is that light that flashes while the phone is sleeping that says you have a text or email or missed call. That has that, right?

Not to change the subject.

When I replaced an Apple iPhone 3GS with an iPhone 4S, I gave the 3GS to my mother. She uses it with a pre-paid SIM card as a phone, and can also access the internet at home and anywhere she can get a free WiFi connection.

It’s very cool. It’s so sleek it makes iphones and droids look like oxcarts. I’ve owned a lot of tech, and it’s the first piece of tech I’ve ever owned that (and it sounds weird typing this) seems slightly “unreal”. It’s so thin and so powerful it’s like it’s from the future.

You’re right. Now I feel pretty stupid for not even noticing that.

Is it common for the phone network signal to be stronger than a wireless in a public place, like a cafe, for example? Or is it usually better just to turn on the wireless in a place like that?

Also, does that mean that when it’s in that mode it uses the wireless for everything? Including email, and synching Google calendar? What about texting? What about services like Stitcher?

I think voice and text and sending pics and clips to another phone number are all dependent on your cell connection. Everything else can go wireless network if available.

Yeah I figured this out when I bought my current smartphone a couple months before activating my prepaid plan. I could still use the internet with my wifi connection, yay. The only big downside is the time/alarm clock don’t work over wifi–can’t auto-sync the time without a cell signal, and no option to manually update the clock. But it’s still handy to have, if you’ve got wifi access and want to watch youtube or send instant messages in bed :slight_smile:

Nitpick: your grandpa’s AM radio was ‘wireless,’ and so is your cell phone.

This is actually a bit of a risk. I woke up one morning (1st July) as my alarm (on my cell) went off. Into the bathroom, shower, dressed, etc, and finally down for breakfast. Look at oven clock …
“Oh, I’m much later than I expected, was I that slow in the shower?”
I had not “wasted any time” that I could recall (and 20 minutes is a lot of time to waste).
I got on, had breakfast, fixed lunch and into the car, leaving about 20 minutes later than usual (which can cause issues with parking at work). I did get a park, and then sat at my desk, fired up my laptop and checked my phone. In spite of it being hooked to the cell network for almost 2 hours, it was 25 minutes behind real time, and had been since before my alarm went off. I had to reboot it and reconnect to the network to get the correct time.
I blame the leap second introduced at the end of June screwing up the cell tower time sync. Fortunately it was of little consequence that day, but I am now a bit paranoid.


To continue the hijackery for a sec, I’m really hoping Verizon gets the Galaxy Note soon. If it doesn’t, I’ll probably get the SIII. I have the Droid X now and although it’s a good smartphone, I really need a larger screen and more powah! :slight_smile:

My daughters have my and my wife’s old iPhones. Basically they are iPod Touches which connect to the Net via our home wifi.

I don’t have a smartphone, but I do have a 3G Kindle, which switches automatically between wifi and 3G data like phones do. Unlike a phone, however, I can’t turn the 3G and wifi on and off independently; either wireless is ON and it uses whatever carrier it can find, or it’s OFF and connects to nothing. (Less annoying than it sounds; there are no per-megabyte data charges for 3G browsing on Kindle.)

I can walk to the end of the house that doesn’t have the wireless router in it, and whether I end up with one bar of wifi or all five bars of 3G, or something random in between, depends on time of day, temperature, humidity, RF interference, phase of the moon, price of tea in China, and about a thousand other things I don’t have enough data to figure out.

In other words, it depends on what gizmo you’re using, how you’re holding it, where you’re standing, and what mood the cosmos is in lately.