Until I received an ad in my email today it escaped me that Dell sold mobile phones. Sure I knew they made a couple of them and logically they would sell those, but not a whole line of phones from other manufacturers. And they have good prices too…really good prices.
The revelation came in the form of an email ad for the HTC Droid Incredible, which they are offering right now for free. My contract was up a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been searching around for deals. Mostly I am looking at the Motorola Droid X and the Samsung Fascinate. I can get the Fascinate from Amazon for $99. It would only be $29 if I had an individual plan as opposed to our family plan. Dell offers if for free for new accounts and is also $99 for existing accounts (individual or family). That’s comparable to the Amazon pricing.
What blew me away, though, was their pricing on the Motorola Droid X. The Droid X is $49.99 for me and a stunning $9.99 for new accounts!
They carry phones from all manufacturers and for all carriers. In addition to Dell’s own phones, there are phones from Blackberry, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Samsung, Sanyo, and Sony Ericsson. And, they are working with Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Nextel.
You will have to search around a little and make sure you are looking at the price for your situation – New Account, Renew/Upgrade, or Add a Line. But you can find some REALLY good deals on just about any phone you could want. Except, of course, the iPhone.
I know a lot of telecommunications traffic is moving to the internet, but in some situations a real phone system is still necessary. And sometimes, I stumble across a technology that is just so geeky-cool that I can’t resist it. That’s why I am dying to build an OpenVBX system. It’s like a home server for your telephones. If you like playing with things such as FreeNAS and WebDAV and understand them, then this shouldn’t be a stretch for you. And did I mention that it’s just really cool technology? And it’s free and open-source!
Rather than me trying to explain it, here’s the description given by their web site:
Get virtual phone numbers, and build business apps with the easy drag ‘n drop editor. OpenVBX comes with applets for auto-attendants, call forwarding, voicemails (with transcription), receiving text messages and more.
Integrate OpenVBX with your existing systems. Build your own custom phone applets with just a little bit of PHP. Rebrand and resell OpenVBX to your customers.
Give every user their own phone number and personal conference line. Dial whole departments, share voicemail messages with the team. OpenVBX is for companies and collaboration.
It comes from Twilio, which is a cloud-based communications service. OpenVBX is an open-source project which was started by Twilio. You host it on your own server – Twilio has not announced any plan to host a version. If you don’t want to host it in your home/business then you can easily find a paid host that offers one-click installation of OpenVBX (just like installing WordPress on your blog).
There are a few apps available on their website and you can write any that you want and easily add it to your installation. You’ll need to know some PHP, but that’s a pretty common language in today’s world, so if you don’t know it then it’s easy to find a programmer who does.
I found a great tutorial for a basic installation over on MakeUseOf which will get you started. I’ve bookmarked it and put this project on my to-do list. It sounds like a great weekend project, especially with the cold, snowy weather on the horizon.