Android Smart Phones

When it come to computers, lap tops, ipads, and smart phones, i'm not user friendly and refer to myself as a functional iliterate. My questions is this, i know that us cell phones are very expensive to use in europe. One is better off bring ther magic jack and using it to call home. however, there are many useful apps on my android phone and numerous apps for european travel. Can i use these apps without running up data fees. Are these apps loded into my phones memory. *** This question's text has changed from all caps to lower case by the webmaster. ***

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21656 posts

Tony, To begin with, for future posts you might consider switching the "Caps Lock" "off". Using all capitals is considered shouting in Internet protocol. I've never used a Magic Jack for travel, so not sure how well it will work? Some travellers here have been getting good results with Skype and Wi-Fi. It's impossible to know whether your App's will incur data roaming fees, without having some idea on which App's you're using? Those which are designed to work in "Offline" mode won't incur data roaming, but keep in mind that it's VERY important that you switch off the data roaming in the phone so that it doesn't access the cellular network. A more important question is whether your Smart Phone will even work in Europe? If you're with Verizon or Sprint, your phone won't be able to access the GSM networks. AT&T or T-Mobile quad-band GSM phones will work. You'll need to go through the specifications for each App to determine if it's capable of off-line operation. Good luck!

Posted by Paul
Tuscaloosa, AL
887 posts

Tony, I suggest you do an experiment. Switch your Android phone to airplane mode. It is in the Settings menu under "Wireless & networks." Then find a good wifi spot. Turn on wifi. Try the apps in question. If they work, then you should be able to use them in Europe over wifi. Just be sure that airplane mode symbol is at the top of your home screen. If you weren't gadget illiterate, I'd suggest you verify that your device was not using cell data by running an app to monitor your data usage. I use one called data counter widget. Or you could also check you phone bill for the time of your test and see if it shows any data usage. To save money, be sure and unconditionally forward all your calls to your voicemail before you leave the U.S. and to keep that phone in airplane mode.

Posted by David
Bellevue, WA, USA
754 posts

put your phone in airplane mode and turn on wifi.

Posted by Veronica
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
2 posts

If you are CDMA (Sprint, Verizon) your phone won't work in Europe anyway. I'm not sure what happens with AT&T/T-mobile users in terms of GSM roaming. But yes, the safest thing is to put your phone in Airplane mode while you are using those apps. You can also make free calls via WiFi on that Android phone. We will be traveling to the UK this summer - mine is set up to do so as we will have WiFi in our London flat. The Skype for Android app is just OK on my phone. I've actually used a combination of Google Voice and an Sipdroid, but there are easier ways to do it.

Posted by Suzan
Chesapeake, VA, USA
23 posts

So what does one do who has a Sprint phone? We'll be in Europe for about 15 days (mostly on a cruise). Should I just act like it's 1980? (said tongue in cheek)

Posted by Tony
Sparks, NV, USA
17 posts

Thank you all for your useful insite and information. We have decisded to leave the phones home and get pay as you go phones once we get there. Will use laptop at wifi sites to stay in touch with home.

Posted by Ken
Dalton, GA, USA
6 posts

Just an update to the Verizon won't work in Europe. Verizon has Android and Blackberry phones that are CDMA and GSM. They are usually advertised as "global". I have been using one for the past two years at home and overseas.

Posted by Paul
Tuscaloosa, AL
887 posts

Also, another clarification. For those with Sprint or Verizon whose smartphones do not have GSM capability, the wifi part should still work fine (assuming you are around a wifi connection).

Posted by Dee
Lake Elsinore
2 posts

I have another question along these lines. I have a Verizon Droid 2 global phone. I also received a free international SIM card when we ordered our rail pass. 1) Will this SIM card work in the droid 2? Are we able to just take that card out and put the original back in when we get back?
2) If we leave the phone on Airplane mode and use wifi, are we getting charged? Does turning the phone to airplane stop roaming, or do I need to do something to stop that, too? 3) Could I be any more confused? Thanks, Dee

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21656 posts

@ Dee, To begin with, it's important to determine which version of the Verizon Droid 2 that you're using. The standard version is CDMA only, and will NOT have a SIM card. However, there is a Droid 2 Global which also is also configured for GSM networks. Could you clarify which version you're using? One thing to check is whether the phone even has a "bay" for a SIM Card. You could also check with Verizon. If the phone DOES have a place for a SIM card, the next question to answer is whether the phone is "unlocked". Your "free" SIM card won't work in the phone unless it's unlocked. Most Smartphones operate in much the same way, so if you place the phone in "Airplane mode" it will switch off ALL wireless functions, including Wi-Fi. You'll have to turn the Wi-Fi "on" in order to access the net. If the Droid 2 has a "useage meter" (similar to the iPhone), it would be a good idea to reset it at the beginning of the trip, so that you can track whether you're actually using any data airtime. If you decide to use the international SIM card you received with your Railpass, I'd suggest checking the rate structure and other information carefully, so that you have a clear idea on what your costs might be. While the SIM card may have been "free", I can assure you the calls won't be! It would help if you could indicate where you'll be travelling. Paul posted some good information recently on data roaming using a SIM card purchased in the U.K. Happy travels!

Posted by Chris
Puyallup, WA, USA
881 posts

I haven't tried it out overseas yet, But I know Verizon has Google Voice and Skype ganked on my DriodX so that they use plan minutes. Feh!

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
875 posts

Try Skype, the regular version via the applications market, not Verizon's Skype Mobile which I think requires access to Verizon's cell towers. Switch your phone into airplane mode, turn on WiFi and make your calls.