At first, we all assumed texting was little more than a means to make social and personal communication easier. The reality is that texting makes communication easier for everyone involved, including businesses. However, there are many users (like myself) who fumble along with the smaller keyboards on smartphones. The solution should be simple — tablets. That's right, tablets. The keyboards are better sized and quicker to type on. Plus quite a few business users are opting for tablets over other mobile devices.
So, how do you enable texting on your Android tablet? For a mere $2.99 (USD), you can install Tablet Talk and have the best of both worlds.
With Tablet Talk, you can connect your Android tablet to your mobile phone (either via Bluetooth or wireless) so that you can send and receive texts from your tablet. The features of Tablet Talk include:
- Messages sent instantly and received from your phone (not tablet)
- No intermediate servers used
- Tablet rings for calls
- Only runs when you want it
- Easily switch between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Syncs all text threads from phone to tablet
With Tablet Talk, you have to install the application on your phone and tablet, but you don't have to pay for the app twice. Once you've purchased it, you can install the app on all of your Android devices. Here's how:
- Open up the Google Play Store
- Search for "tablet talk" (no quotes)
- Tap the Tablet Talk entry
- Tap Purchase
- Tap Buy
- Tap Install
You'll have to do this on both the phone and the tablet. Once you've purchased the app, the second installation will remove the "purchase" step.
The set up of Tablet Talk is easy. First, you need to know if you're going to sync the devices by Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. If you go with Wi-Fi, you must have a port open on your network for communication. By default, that port is 4040 (more on that in a bit).With the application installed, go to the app drawer and launch Tablet Talk on your phone. The main window (Figure A) allows you to quickly connect by pressing the red circle near the top. Before you do that, you need to select which method you want to connect with. Figure A
Here you see Tablet Talk on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy S III.
When you first attempt to connect Tablet Talk (by tapping the red button), you'll be prompted to enable Bluetooth. At the warning, tap Continue and then Yes to give the app permission to turn on Bluetooth. Once Bluetooth is turned on, you'll then be prompted to enable discovery on the phone. Tap the Enable Discovery button, and then tap Yes.
You're not done on the phone just yet. Unfortunately, Tablet Talk isn't capable of automatically pairing the phone and the tablet. To do this, walk through the usual steps of pairing via Bluetooth:
- On your tablet, open the app drawer and tap Settings
- Tap Bluetooth
- Tap Scan for devices
- Once the phone is detected, tap the entry for the phone
- When prompted (on both devices), tap to allow the pairing
Using Tablet Talk
With your devices paired, you're now ready to connect them with Tablet Talk. Here's how:
- On the tablet, open the Tablet Talk application
- Tap the menu button (upper right corner)
- Tap Settings
- From the Settings window (Figure B), tap Connection Type
- Tap Bluetooth from the listing
- Tap the Back button
The Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab using Tablet Talk.
You should now be ready to connect. From the Tablet Talk main window, tap the Connect button, which will bring up the Tablet Talk Bluetooth setup screen. In this window, you'll need to first press the Search for Phone button and then, when the phone is listed, select the correct entry with a single tap. This should automatically connect your tablet to your phone and return you to the main screen. Once the button is green, you're ready to begin sending and receiving text messages on your tablet.Figure C
If you're unsure which phone to connect to, you can also go back to the phone's Bluetooth setup and give the phone a name that's easy to recognize.
Having the ability to text your fellow admins, end users, or other employees is becoming a must for business. Being able to do so on a tablet instead of a phone can make that texting time so much more efficient. With Tablet Talk, you can make it so.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.