Apps To Turn Your iPod Into An iPhone
If you follow Apple Keynotes you probably heard that the new iPod is going to have FaceTime. With this new development, and many others, people are wondering why they need a cell plan or an iPhone. The majority of iPhone users use much more data than minutes. I know I have many roll over minutes, if AT&T didn't refresh them every month for the duration of my contract, I'd still be set. Although AT&T doesn't offer a data only plan for the iPod (even though the iPad has one...), there are still ways to take advantage of the iPod's technology if you're willing to make a few sacrifices. If you're around WiFi a lot, choose to go to a third party like Sprint for a data only plan on a WiFi hotspot device, or just don't receive many calls, this AppList might just help you cut ties with AT&T for good. Also, there is some after-market hardware that just might turn your iPod into an iPhone such as the "Peel" and "TPhone." I can't post a link here, but a Google search will get you there. The iPod is getting closer and closer to becoming a phone and with these apps I think you may find your solution to turn your iPod into an iPod Phone.
Skype for iPhone
OK, first lets get the meat and potatoes out of the way. Skype will be your main calling app. You will use this to make and receive phone calls and even instant messages. The downside right out of the gate is that you can't make calls to cell phones without credits or a yearly subscription. Credits cost money. I'd recommend spending the fifty dollars a year for your own Skype number and unlimited United States calling. You can even link that Skype number to Google Voice for added flexibility. Your only other option is to persuade all your friends to buy a phone that has a Skype app... Moving on, this app supports multi-tasking so it can run in the background and make sure you never miss a call. You even have the option to set a "Do Not Disturb" mode so you can get off the grid for movie theaters, meetings or that ever elusive 8 hours of sleep. Even though it can't call cell phones for free, I do recommend this to be your primary app.
iCall - VoIP for Teams, Family, and Friends
iCall is unique because you don't need both parties to have the app for it to be free. It acts much like Skype except all calls are limited to 5 minutes and there is no multi-tasking. I recommend you have both of these apps on hand, because each app excels at separate things depending on what you need, but that may get confusing.
TextFree will give you your own number to be reached at primarily for texting, but they hint at being able to make calls soon. Whether or not that is true, this is the best app in the app store to text with as you get a real number with your real area code, not some random email address. There is no ability to send pictures so I decided to add the newly updated TextNow below, which does have that ability.
TextNow Classic - Free Text + Calls : Free Texting Picture Messaging and Phone Calling
TextNow has also recently given you the option to create your own number for texting. Although the area codes are limited out of the gate, I do believe that they will expand this. The reason I put this here for you to put up against TextFree is because this app will send pictures. Note that it does so via your textnow email address, so your recipient should know this. This app boasts a lot of customization in themes and ringtones for each individual and it is definitely the shinier texting program. Give them both a try and pick your favorite.
GV Connect - Call & SMS for Google Voice
GV Connect was the first app to make its way back onto the store after Apple revised their position on Google Voice. Google Voice allows you to have a single phone number which you can then link to a landline, a prepaid cell phone, Skype, and numerous other phones. The single number idea frees you of any notion that you need to worry about what phone you use. The combination of Google Voice and Skype is absolutely killer. Here is what this app allows you to do: text for free (in the most elegant way I've seen on an iPod), listen to and read your voicemails, look at your calling history, make calls on one of your linked phones. You can also access various settings that Google Voice users are familiar with from the website. There are many other features of this app. Right now this is my favorite way to access Google Voice on my iPod touch.
GV Mobile + for Google Voice
GV Mobile+ is the other option for Google Voice users on the iPod touch. It offers similar functionality to GV Connect. The roadmap for this application is more ambitious with features being worked on such as in app VOIP calling. One great feature that is currently not in GV Connect is the ability to have favorites just like you would on the iPhone. The favorites feature is the biggest advantage for GV Mobile+ right now. For Google users that want to use the multiple sign in feature you will need to wait for the next update to this application to avoid the "Magic Key" bug. GV Connect and GV Mobile+ are both great applications and it is simply a matter of preference. Right now I prefer GV Connect but that will probably change as future updates are released for GV Mobile+.
FaceNow - FaceTime, Messages, E-Mail, and Phone Favorites List
FaceNow is an app that is not needed on the iPod touch, but may help out your iPhone 4 friends trying to call you over FaceTime. This app makes it dead simple for iPhone 4 users to call iPod touch users over FaceTime. The features of this app are very similar to those found in the FaceTime app for the iPod touch. It is a free application to create a favorites list of FaceTime users by email address or phone number. FaceTime is a great way to turn your iPod touch into a phone for free. As long as you want to stay in touch with other FaceTime capable friends you can make video or audio calls for free. To make an audio call you can simply hit the home button after a call is made and it will simply show the other person a black screen. In time Apple may even give you the option of audio or video calling. FaceTime is in its very beginning and it could be very huge and have a big impact on how people communicate in the near future.