Dec 02 AT 8:40 PM Taylor Wimberly 60 Comments

Using apps during a call? My phone and my network does that!

AT&T and Verizon are entrenched in a heated advertising war that shows no signs of slowing down. The latest iPhone ad attacked the Motorola Droid because Verizon’s CDMA network can’t do voice and data at the same time. Several examples are shown where a user might need to access an application while in the middle of a call.

At the end of the ad, the question is posed, “Can your phone and your network do that?”

If you have an Android phone with T-Mobile, then the answer is yes. All you have to do is hit the home button while in the middle of a call. The call will be sent to the notification bar and allow the user to access any application. Since T-Mobile uses the same GSM technology as AT&T, it can handle voice and data at the same time.

I assumed most Android users knew about this, but I still get questions almost every week. Check out the screens below for proof that this is possible.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website A man

    Also, thank God for wi-fi. I’m an Android user with Verizon, but I have wi-fi hotspots everywhere I use my phone. The road being the only exception, and the very last place anyone should ever be multi-tasking!

    • iloveDroid

      Couldn’t agree more with you A man. I am in the exact same boat and honestly the last thing in my mind is multitasking.

      • http://Website Adam

        Agree. Pretty much everything I’m going to be referring to is already pushed to my phone anyway…

  • Michael

    My friend just posted about his iPhone dropping a voip wifi call, when receiving a text.

    • BrownyCub

      Sounds like my co-worker, the iPhone drops calls consistently.

    • http://Website ari-free

      I don’t know why Apple is getting involved, trying to defend a crappy network and then giving out an opening for a counter: iPhone doesn’t do multitasking.

      There are a lot of iPhone users who wish they were on Verizon and this ad won’t make up for all those dropped calls on AT&T.

  • Tom

    Clearly T-mo is the better of the cellular companies. I just find it interesting that verizon and att seem to be ignoring T-mo.

  • http://Website Anthony

    I have Verizon, so I can’t do this. But just out of curiosity, how many of you with GSM cell service actually take advantage of being able to use voice and data concurrently?

    I don’t know if its because I’ve just always been on CDMA, but I never thought it was really a “perk” of being able to do this… and kind of see it as just something to brag about more than anything.

    • Quentyn Kennemer

      I actually I do this a lot more often than I thought I would. Sometimes I’m on a long call and might want to check Twitter, or need to search something up quick on Google, and it comes in as handy as I’ve ever needed it to be.

    • http://Website Greg

      it’s actually the reverse which is more important. if you are on the web/email/text and a call comes in, it goes directly to VM and you don’t even realize you missed a call. Not a problem with TMO’s GSM, my network does that ;)

      • A Man

        This is actually incorrect. When you get a call while using data, your data is simply interrupted while you take the call. When your call is completely you continue with what you were doing. The biggest problem a lot of people were anticipating was a phone call interrupting the GPS, but that is not the case either. Since the map is cached, the GPS continues to follow you even while you’re in a call.

        • http://Website Matthew

          But how can you stop your droid from accepting calls while using GPS?

    • http://Website Malcolm


      I have a T-mobile G!. This is an important feature even if not used often. I use it to check Google maps when I am on a phone call giving directions or finding hotels, etc. Also, I may not feel like being attentive to the chatty caller on the other end, so it helps me keep my sanity by doing other things.

      It is also wonderful to be able to surf the web while on a call. In my opinion, it is not just for bragging rights. I think it is a necessity.

  • Doc

    My Droid phone on Verizon most definitely does these things. The day I got the phone a week ago, my wife called me, I answered it, and at the same time read an email that we were discussing.

    • iPaul Pro

      If the email was synched before you started the call, it was cached on the phone. For the same reason, one is able to view and open the first few emails (in the Gmail app) without having service at all.

      Try it yourself – turn on Airplane mode and then open up the Gmail app.

    • http://Website Yolanda

      AT&T need to get there stories straight. When on a call with my Motorola Droid, I can surf the internet, read my e-mail, search my contacts and use google maps. IF THEY CAN’T STAND THE HEAT, GET OUT OF THE FIRE.

  • http://Website Ryan

    This feature has been a lifesaver on calls with the girlfriend…

  • http://Website JD

    I do it pretty often…normally someone will ask me something, and I’ll switch over to find an answer..something trivial like that.

  • michael

    I was talking to my wife via my G1 over the weekend while at Home Depot. I was buying a faucet and wanted to confirm I was buying one she’d like. I was able to take a couple pictures of the faucet in question, send them to my wife over email, and stay on the phone the entire time while she confirmed the purchased. I was thinking of the iPhone commercial the whole time…”Yes, even my G1 can do that!”.

  • zhect

    I actually do use this a lot. I have a t-mobile G1. On ocassions I play battleships with my girlfriend on the phone while talking. Allows better trash talk. XD. I also have used this to play texas hold em with some friends on my g1 while having a conversation with them at the same time. Its actually pretty fun and if u like trash talking while playing a game it comes in handy.

  • http://Website CJ

    It’s a popular misconception but it is possible to have simultaneous voice and data with CDMA also but it’s not implemented in the revisions that are in use by Verizon and Sprint here in the states. And since both are moving to LTE it never will be.

  • jeremy

    I have T-Mobile and a G1. I use it all the time when I’m trying to figure something out with a person. It is definitely a plus and tmob should advertise it too.

    Tmob folds its arms and laughs at the expensive verizon and att war.

  • john

    @ Doc…I believe you may be mistaken. Unless yoiu got puff the magic droid.

  • http://Website Robin

    Sure the Droid with Verizon can do it to… you just have to use VOIP for your voice call.

  • http://Website nancy

    I’m new to the world of smartphones, but when I got my G1 on T-mobile, I started doing this. Spouse would call from somewhere needing directions, I’d press home and pull up Maps and get him the directions, while he’s on the line.

    For the life of me I thought every smartphone/network could do this – I was soo puzzled when I saw the latest Iphone ad. I’m so glad I’m on T-mobile, cause I really really love my G1.

  • http://Website Name (required)Phil

    Hmmm… I’m on Verizon. Just tried it on my Eris. Called myself (its early and I didn’t want to wake anyone – I just let it go to voice mail). Hit home and went to google maps. Moved around the map. Hit home, then went back to my call in progress. I’m sure I used to do this all the time with my blackberry as well.

  • Surge

    The problem here is that due to the ad campaign everyone thinks the droid is the only android phone on the market, I have a g1 and often people will ask “hey is that a droid?”. Needless to say I then go on a rant to correct their ignorance on which is the OS and which is the phone. I think that way of thinking if it continues can only harm the android os.

    • http://Website Malcolm

      Exactly. I relative asked me if I was going to get the Droid? I responded, “why? I already have an android phone (G1) and it does everything the Droid does”.

  • Mast3r_Shake

    I can’t believe people use Tmo.

    Somewhere I read that employees at an iPhone store (I want to say in San Francisco) were telling iPhone users it was typical to have 30% of their calls dropped. That is garbage.

    Go Verizon, get a Droid, or wait for a new HTC to come out on Verizon.

    • cl2eep

      Um, you’re saying that an iPhone store said something, and you are holding it against Tmo? iPhones are exclusive to ATT buddy. Nothing an Apple store employee says can even remotely be traced back to T-Mobile.

  • http://Website aleis

    when verizons 4g rolls out this will be a non issue :)

    • Trent Carter

      And if the rumors are true about the iPhone coming to Verizon next year, everybody wins! :)

  • Valdier

    The droid can absolutely background a call on Verizon… I read emails, text messages, etc all the time while chatting on the phone.

    It can’t do data over CDMA during voice calls, that much is true, but as mentioned in other posts WiFi can handle that aspect for you.

  • jon

    I use this all the time while on calls. Especially if I’m calling companies that need my account number that I store on my phone. I also use it to give directions to people while on the line and give people other contacts phone numbers. It works great with speaker phone and browsing your phone.

  • Mast3r_Shake

    I was saying iPhone for AT&T. I mean Atmosphere is a cellular afterthought.

  • http://Website Zer09

    The ability to receive data while on a voice call has been hit and miss for me. While driving and using the turn by turn directions on a 80 mile drive I talked to my wife during the entire drive. Only at one point did it announce that it had lost the data connection. I hung up, drove down the road a bit further, and called her back after Google Nav stopped complaining. Either it has a pretty massive cache for Nav or there is some ability for the droid to get data while on a call.

  • maccrookpro

    Hah, yes! I always use this function while on the phone, map something out, return a text, email, hell I even looked at this site while on the phone to refer back to a post. G1′s up hoes down. Android FTW.

  • http://Website Wade

    I’m not sure how you guys are getting it to work, because I can only use my G1′s data connection over WiFi if I’m in a call. Maybe it’s only enabled during a call if you are on 3G, since we are limited to Edge here in my town. As soon as I make a call the Edge icon disappears from the notification bar, and if I try to use my browser or Google Maps, it tell me there is no data connection.

    Maybe someone can test this 3G vs. Edge theory by seeing if it stops working after forcing your phone to use 2G in the wireless settings.

    • http://Website Zer09

      Yes this is exactly the case. on Tmo and AT&T 3G is on a different band than the 2G/Edge voice traffic. So its basically the same thing as using WIFI while on a call.

      I have noticed at times that I still have 3g signal showing while on a call with my Droid…not sure why or how.

  • mytouchHER

    You know with my phone[MyTouch w/T-mobile] the 3G totally drops when I’m on the phone. I can’t update Twidriod, the market or get on the internet. MOST of the time, my phone can’t do calls AND do data.

    • http://Website Glenn

      I’ve got a mytouch 3g on tmo and I talk on the phone all the time while browsing. I don’t send text or update my twitter during it, but I go on google all the time and where app to search for restaurants and I leave my phone on 3g most of the time.

  • Christian

    Verry funny, iPhone is asking wheter you can use your phone + an application at the same time… although iPhone is not multitasking capable.

    • http://Website Kenta

      Actually it does multitask. It just does it with the apps that came preloaded on the phone.

      I thought it was obvious that Apple was targeting Verizon and their network with this ad. But do to the response of T-Mobile users in this thread, I can see that it wasn’t.

      I just tried on my Droid to do both and got a nice little popup telling that data would be restored AFTER I hang up the call.

  • http://Website Scuff

    This ad smacks a little of desperation to me. Seriously, how many times have you had to be on a cell phone and browsing the web at the exact same time. Now I can see being on the phone and on the PC in your office, but do we really need to encourage this mobile mega-tasking mentality. Life is stressful enough.

    The problem with all of these phones that can do everything but slice bread is when people get a hold of them while driving. Back in the day, your cell phone was simply that, a device to send and receive calls on.

    I live in California, where talking on a phone w/o a hands-free device is supposedly illegal. So explain to me why when I ‘m sitting at a red light I can see drivers all around me fidgeting with their smart phones? And when the light turns green and they’re supposed to be focusing on driving they’re still fidgeting with some silly app they just can’t stop playing with?

    I saw a few studies that proved that fidgeting with cellphones is just as dangerous as driving drunk. So where’s the public outcry? Don’t count on it with the power of the cell phone lobby.

  • http://Website Dave

    I use two apps at once far more often than I need to talk and use an app. ie pandora and the web.

  • http://Website Ian

    I’ve actually never needed to use 2 apps on my phone at the same time. I’ve never longed for this feature cause I don’t see the need. Which ones would I use at the same time? The only thing I can imagine is making a phonecall and using an app at the same time. Or being able to at least receive a call while using the internet on my phone, without it going straight to voice mail.

  • http://Website Mike

    My Sprint HTC Hero does that.

  • http://Website Me

    My HTC Drois Eris can do both…IF i have my wifi turned on i can access the internet and apps while on a call :) with Verizon;)

  • http://Website Jannabis

    what really gets me are the commercials where that popular actors brother is downloading himself on two networks… well in greatter Minnesota you might as well widdle yourself a wifi hotspot because the chance of you getting a 3g connection are…zero. my droid has 3g in the North Country on verizon, awesome. I get 3g where we dont get cable tv…

  • http://Website Mandrake

    What I dont understand is how this is being pushed as a network thing. Before I got my Droid I had a Samsung Omnia. Both phones are on Verizon, but the Omnia could use the internet text, anything at all while still be on the phone. I was constantly looking up stuff for my friends while having them on the phone with my Omnia. I assumed it was jsut a win mobile thing that android didn’t.

  • http://Website techman1983

    T-Mobile 3G coverage is a joke!

  • http://Website chancy319

    Apple is a piece of shit company. They always throw ads about features that are usually standard in most other devices or have been around for a long time. How can a supposed “smartphone” launch without MMS????

  • http://Website Songman

    I just called my Verizon Droid from my house phone, answered the call then hit the Home button and opened my eBay app and looked at auctions while the call was still active. I don’t know if it works with all apps but I did surf the net while on a call.

  • http://Website Maurice

    My mytouch 3g is great especially now that it is rooted with Cyanogen 4.2.5xxxxxxx. My only complaint with the mytouch is that i can be on the phone and use 3g for a few minutes but it will drop out while im on my way home. Home is OC and work is The Valley. I like to check google maps for the 50,000 freeway options i have to get home but after about 5 minutes on the phone my 3g drops out. As soon as i get off the phone the 3g comes back. It seems the phone drops the 3g when u leave a 3g area but wont pick it back up when u come back to 3g. So i can SOMETIMES do voice and data. Never a problem on wifi tho. Its not a perfect world but leaving verizons expensive plan and the clunky voyager for a sleek rooted mytouch and a savings of $40 a month is well worth it. Android will only get better, OH YEAH

  • http://Website Palomosan

    I’ve been doing that with my Droid forever, so I don’t know what ATT is talking about.

  • http://Website JP

    I did this the other day with my HTC Hero on sprint. I was incredibly confused. I was in a call and backed out, went to to my browser and was viewing CNN all while still talking.

  • http://Website Arin

    I am confused, I just read a comment from a Droid user stating they read an email after receiving a phone call. Huh? I do understand the chached part in a sense. Making it readable…

    But I am a Droid user (who is trying to find out the best apps to use and ways of utilizing my phone, #1 reason why I am on the boards :) but I can not even get into my contact list, read a text/email or broswe the web during any phone call and i have tried to open up stuff in notifucation bar and it does not allow me. I have also tried to go to my home screen and it does not allow me.

    I thought I understood correctly that Verizon doesn’t have this capability.

    But let me tell you, my last phone the LG Scoop (ha) I could do all of that and more. Seems odd and is a feature I really could use.

    I am no professor with my Droid yet and half of the time I don’t understand some of the computer language referenced.

    Im still trying to find out where the location of the internal memory (? no clue what is it called) is verses the sd card and how I can see what is saved or used up in both spaces…any help would be great.

    • http://Website Arin

      never mind, you can do what the iPhone can and manage whatever on a phone call. hmmm. Im a newbie and a girl, lol

  • http://Website Counsel

    I am a a person who will not use AT&T or Apple due to a lost iPhone and them actally telling me they could not (not would not) help find a lost device. As if AT&T doesn’t tract IMEI numbers upon each call and as if Apple doesn’t identify a device (serial number, etc.) with an iTunes account…


    I am looking to get a new smartphone, and I am looking at Android. When the call is sent to the notification bar, is it still on speaker? Or is the call “on hold” for all intents and purposes?

    I OFTEN give directions that I have to look up on a mapping site in order to get people places (don’t ask why…). To do so, I have placed them oh speaker and browsed the net to get the data.

    Anyone mind answering that since I haven’t read all xxx replies :p


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