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If you are loving your Motorola Xoom, but hating the fact that you can’t send text messages from it, there is a way around it. A developer at XDA Developers has hacked a version of Google Voice which you can install by sideloading it on the device, and then you’ll be able to send and receive text messages all you want.
First of all, you need a Google Voice number. If you haven’t gotten one, and you’re in the U.S., the question is: why not? Since Google opened up GV for all, there’s not even a need for an invitation any longer.
Google Voice allows users to centralize one number for all those phones. An end user could even be carrying two cell phones, and have someone call their GV number, and … assuming the settings at your GV account are set properly … have both phones ring, or only one phone ring or neither, having the call go straight to GV voicemail.
Additionally, you can set up rules depending on the caller ID or globally.
At any rate, while you can use an Instant Messenger client instead of SMS, many people would prefer to use SMS. The advantage, of course, is that Instant Messages via Google Voice are free.
Here’s how you do it on the Xoom.
- Configure your Xoom to install non-market applications (sideloading): Open the Settings app, then go to Applications, check “Unknown Sources – Allow installation of non-Market applications.”
- Download the modified Google Voice application (gv.4.2.13.fixed.apk) from the XDA Developers site.
- Open the downloaded file and run it to install the program. Once Google Voice has been installed, open it.
- Follow the instructions to install the app.
Make sure you choose settings properly for a device that doesn’t have a phone component (it does have a number, but we mean no way to take or answer calls). Don’t try have GV handle your Xoom’s voicemail (which doesn’t exist) for one.
Google is definitely working on an official version of GV for Honeycomb and the Xoom, and we presume, for those tablets upcoming which have no phone component. The company has not detailed a timeline for completion, though.
It’s also unclear how much power the app will have. Until now, if you use GV on your smartphone, it actually dials using your cellular voice service. The Xoom doesn’t have that capability, so if you were to be able to call through it directly it would have to use the Internet.