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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Friday, Nov. 30, 2012

Money-saving moment

FreedomPop rolls out net-enabled iPod Touch case

Plus, is Google's Nexus 7 a worthy competitor to the iPad?

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ClarkHoward.com and The Clark Howard Show offer more money-saving advice for consumers.

By Clark Howard


It seems not a week goes by without a new offer for people looking to save money using new smartphone technology.

FreedomPop has a $99 mobile broadband device that is actually a case for the iPod Touch. With the Freedom Sleeve Rocket, you can set up your own hotspot for free and make calls (via VoIP) like an iPhone. A similar sleeve is available for the iPhone 4/4S.

"The company will give customers 500 MB of free data per month, with the ability to get an extra 10 MB for each friend they sign up for the service, for a total of up to 1 GB of free data," according to FierceWireless.com. "Customers can also pay overage charges of 1 cent per MB, or $10 per GB, beyond that."

In order to use the Freedom Sleeve Rocket, you simply need to set up a Google Voice number and, via an app, that becomes your phone service on the iPod Touch.

I've been testing this thing and the data network it uses is fast where it's available, though not very widespread in coverage. Therefore, I'm recommending the Freedom Sleeve Rocket for somebody who wants a smartphone for occasional use without the big monthly bill, or maybe even a tween.

So you get the iPod Touch for around $150, the FreedomPop device for $99, and suddenly you're in the game for $250 with a no-contract poor man's iPhone.

The idea of this is so much a part of where web stuff is going in the wireless world. In the past, we thought that all we had was what the Big 4 wireless companies offered, but more and more players are coming in to rain on their parade and this is an example of it.

Meanwhile, I've been testing the Nexus 7, the new $199 tablet from Google. At that price point, it's around $300 cheaper than the iPad. But is it better?

Well, it's half the size of an iPad, meaning it would fit well in a women's handbag. It displays both video and magazines beautifully, and it has a built-in camera for web chat. But it does not represent newspapers with the same beauty of the iPad. Plus, it's available only to use at wifi, so it does not have the cellular connectivity that you have with fancier models of the iPad.

But for those who want a tablet and don't have a spare $500 laying around, this may be it!

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