The Nexus 7 3G is out and I'm wondering whether Android 4.2 tablets are still data-only devices. Can I install a custom ROM or apk to this tablet so that I can send and receive GSM calls and text messages on it? If not, why not? What's missing?

Added: Nexus 7 3G has many hardware features of phones, but not all: It has gps, bluetooth, headphone jack, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, compass and nfc, but does not have a receiver (earpiece), haptic feedback (vibrate) or a rear camera. IF the 8"x5" tablet can be used as a phone, you won't look funny putting it against your ear because it has no earpiece.

Added: The question is about GSM calls and texting, not VOIP or SIP calls or tethering.

  • You may want to consider sending the texts via your handset. If so, then you can install TabletSMS on your tablet and DeskSMS on your (Android) handset. The DeskSMS service does costs a few dollars a year, but it's worth it for me. You can also use the desktop browser app. They all sync up together. play.google.com/store/apps/… play.google.com/store/apps/… Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 4:27
  • @MarkHewitt that would require two sim cards with two data plans and two shirt pockets. I'm glad this works for you, as well as others who carry tablets and phones all the time. I want to carry just one device.
    – William C
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 18:03
  • You don't need the handset with you for this to work. Both just need to be on and have internet connections. Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 22:19
  • You can sign up a Google Voice number and get GrooVe IP app on Nexus 7. So that you can make phone call on Nexus 7, using Google Voice service. However, we cannot use GrooVe IP to send SMS.
    – jimmyk
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 15:58

5 Answers 5


Yes and no. The hardware is capable of sending/receiving GSM calls and texts but there's no way to do with via the stock software. I doubt any after market app would do the trick either, as it appears that tweaks need to be made at the OS level.

There are a couple of devs working on this on XDA. There's no eta, but they should get it done in time. We can only wait.



According to this article entitled "How To Make / Receive Calls On Nexus 7 Using Google Voice" published in August 2012:

The Nexus 7 is a very basic tablet that is meant for doing tasks like surfing the web, socializing on Facebook, Twitter, sending / receiving email, play games, video chat via Skype or Google Talk, etc. In other words, nothing to do with phone calls.

But, if you want to, there is a way to make your Nexus 7 handle phone calls. It’s not particularly straightforward as you will be required to set up multiple accounts and apps and even, in one part of the guide, modify an APK file, but if you take backups prior to strictly following the guide, you should do just fine.

The official thread is available from XDA Developers

In terms of sending texts to and from the Nexus 7, mySMS seems to do the job. (Google Play Store)

Alternatively The Mighty Text Tablet App maybe more suitable.

  • Hi. My question is about GSM calls, not VOIP or SIP calls or tethering.
    – William C
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 10:13
  • @William C: If I uncover more info I'll post it for you. How about the texting situation ?
    – Simon
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 10:26

The easiest way to do this would be to use Google Voice.


Technically there is no reason why the GSM Nexus 7 shouldn't be able to make & receive calls and send/receive SMS messages - it has all the right hardware.

I have AOKP ROM, which is a fork of the Cyanogenmod ROMs, on my non-GSM (Wi-Fi only) Nexus 7 and it comes bundled with the phone and messaging apps.

  • Do those apps work? Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 17:38
  • 1
    I only have the WiFi version, so I can't test. Maybe someone else with a GSM version could try?
    – Martyn
    Commented Mar 16, 2013 at 20:12

You can use Handcent SMS for sending SMS on the Nexus 7 3G.

  • It just works on its own? Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 6:40
  • 2
    What Matthew is pointing at: As long as the device only supports data connections (and no GSM voice etc.), how will Handcent (or any other app) be able to provide such features? OP is not interested in over-the-net solutions, as he clearly stated.
    – Izzy
    Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 7:53

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