Phablet: Can My Nexus 7 Be Used as One?

Jordan asks about turning a Nexus 7 tablet into a phablet:

Lately it seems as if my Droid Bionic’s screen is just too small for my needs. Although it was my first Android device and will always have a special place in my heart, it’s just not working its magic on me anymore. I recently received a 16 GB Google Nexus 7 and I absolutely love it. Could I use it as my only mobile device? I already do everything else on it like watch videos and movies and play games, but what I also want is for my tablet to act as my phone. The Nexus 7 is small enough to carry around in my pocket, but the problem I run into is trying to connect it to a mobile network. Any tips on how to turn my Nexus into a so-called phablet?

Phablet: Can My Nexus 7 Be Used as One?Thanks for your question, Jordan! There has been a great deal of discussion about this new device category, the phablet, which is essentially a hybrid of a smartphone and a tablet. According to many tech pundits, this year is expected to the Year of the Phablet, and the Consumer Electronics Show gave us the year’s first real taste of phablet fever.

The Nexus 7 as a Phablet

I believe the Nexus 7 has the potential to be used as a phablet. At 7 inches, it’s just small enough to be toted around, though many will still find it far too big to be carried around in a pocket. We were recently asked whether it was necessary to have separate data plans when you have both a smartphone and a tablet; in your case, you might consider yourself lucky, because you won’t have to be making that decision.

I recommend trying a variety of communication applications with your Nexus 7 in order to turn it into a phablet. Skype is perhaps the most well-known example of voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, applications, but there are countless others available for you to try. Using Google Hangouts on Google+ is another great way to communicate, especially when you want to communicate with more than one person at the same time using your phablet.

Inexpensive Data Plans Are Available for Phablets

If you don’t have a data plan yet, the Nexus 7 uses a micro SIM card, and you have a variety of wireless carriers from which to choose. You don’t always have to go with one of the self-professed Big Kahunas of the wireless world; you can have your Nexus’ SIM activated on a prepaid carrier such as SIMPLE Mobile quite inexpensively. SIMPLE Mobile runs on T-Mobile’s network, but may offer better personal support for about the same cost as going with T-Mobile itself.

Regardless of which carrier you go with, once you have a data plan in place, you can get a free mobile phone number through services like Pinger, which enable talking and texting over your data plan for free. Some folks prefer using a simple service like this to others like Skype and Google Hangouts, since they tend to require less data and are potentially more reliable. (Potentially, I say, but not necessarily.) If you don’t have a data plan, try a few of these services using your Wi-Fi connection to see which service you prefer.

More tablets are going to be used as phablets as consumers are trying to save money or those who prefer larger displays buy the devices. I’ve used most of the major devices and services available, but I’m sure there are a few out there I haven’t tried yet (or haven’t even heard of), so I’m looking forward to hearing from others about how they’re using their tablets as phablets. What services have you found to work well in converting your Nexus 7 or other tablet into a phablet?

Image from Amazon

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.