The main difference between phones and tablets is their size, but the fact that they do not support phone calls and text messages. But phones get bigger with each new generation, and it’s easy to make calls or send text messages from a tablet without 4G LTE support. We show you how to make free calls on your Android tablet or iPad.
There are some obvious options that you might have used to make phone calls on a tablet. Skype is an old favorite that lets you make video calls to any device running the app, and call landlines and mobile numbers as well. When used for the latter, it’s the only app here that allows calls from a tablet that doesn’t require the receiver to run any special hardware or software.
For example, FaceTime is a video calling option exclusive to Apple’s line of devices. It’s a great tool if you’re all iOS users, but unusable if your recipient doesn’t have an iPad, iPod, or iPhone.
Here are some other free tools you can use to make calls from your tablet:
Use Amazon Alexa to make free calls on your tablet
Alexa, the voice assistant found in Amazon’s range of smart speakers, has been available as an app for Android and iOS devices for some time now. But only since March 2018 one can use that app to make free voice and video calls to one’s friends and family.
You’ll need to download the Alexa app from the Apple App Store or Google Play, then verify your phone number to import contacts. On some devices, you can tap the Alexa button and have it call a specific contact; for others, you may need to find the person in the contacts section of the Alexa app and select the call or video call option.
Note that Alexa calls only work when your recipient is also using the Alexa app.
Use Google Duo to make free calls on your tablet
Google Duo is another free app available for both iOS and Android users, and although it requires a phone number to configure, you can use the same number on both your phone and tablet. . Since this is a Google app, you can see it’s already installed on your Android device, but you’ll need to link your phone number before you can start using it.
Google Duo is relatively basic but simple to use and works a lot like FaceTime. You select a contact, start a video call, and then tap the screen to bring up options like switching between the front and rear cameras, mute the microphone, or end the call.
No group calls, no instant messaging, just person-to-person video calls. However, we do like the Knock Knock feature, which lets you see the caller’s video stream before you answer.
Another Google app you can use for voice calls is Hangouts, which is also supported on tablets. This is a calling and messaging service, while Duo is for video calls only.
Use Facebook Messenger to make free calls on your tablet
Messenger, the Facebook companion for private messages, also supports voice and video calls over the internet. You can install it for free from the App Store or Google Play as you would on a phone, then tap the phone icon at the top of a conversation with a friend to initiate a call. Of course, this option is only available to you if your recipient also uses Messenger.
What about Google Assistant and WhatsApp?
With Amazon adding voice calling functionality to its Alexa mobile app, and Google recently adding it to its line of Google Home smart speakers through the Google Assistant, we suspect that Google’s follow-up is only is a matter of time and allows calls from the Google Assistant tablet app. The Google Assistant app can now be installed on all Android devices and on phones, the Google Assistant will happily call your contacts, but that’s not possible on tablets yet .
WhatsApp also supports phone calls over the internet, but it’s not technically available on tablets. You can use WhatsApp Web to open the messaging service in Chrome and send text and voice messages from your standard WhatsApp account, but voice and video calls are not supported.
Of course, you can download the full version of WhatsApp to your tablet and use it as you would on a phone, but you will need a phone number to activate the service and it will crash and require reloading every time. update becomes available. With the simpler options we’ve listed above, it can be more complicated than it’s worth.
Read next: Google Duo vs FaceTime vs Skype vs Messenger
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