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Technology & Innovation

Walkie-Talkie Apps Gaining in Popularity

Several new apps represent the modern version of two cans connected by a tight string: Two (or more) smartphones, connected by the Internet.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

Several new smartphone apps exist that defy easy categorization, yet, according to David Pogue at the New York Times, they’re quietly gaining approval from millions of users: “You open the app, tap someone’s name, hold down the big Talk button and speak. A second after you start talking…your voice bursts to life, extremely clearly, on your friend’s phone, wherever it may be in the world.” Pogue says these free apps, which appear to be a modern version of walkie-talkies, have several advantages over other methods of communication.

What’s the Big Idea?

Two of those advantages merit special mention: Unlike phone calls, the apps don’t use up minutes, which may save money depending on where you’re calling. Also, in a way, using one is like having one of your friends (who also has a smartphone with the app installed) with you wherever you go: “Less like a meeting, more like an intercom — with a global reach.” In fact one app, Zello, allows you to listen in on conversations from all over the world; Pogue compares it to “the sense of wonder you felt when you were little…listen[ing] to a ham radio.”

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