Everyone remembers how cool you felt when you had a pair of walkie-talkies as a kid, wandering around the backyard with friends and pretending you’re Rambo trying to escape a jungle. While none of us are likely to ever be famous American mercenaries, we can still enjoy the feeling of using walkie-talkies with friends with the Zello Walkie-Talkie app – which is available for both iOS and Android devices.
When you download the app, you’ll set up an account with a username that you can give to friends and family who can add you to their contacts on their phones. Then you simply select the contact you want to talk with, hold in the circular mic-activating button, and say what you’ve got to say. The message gets sent immediately to the contact, and depending on the settings they’ve got configured (‘available’ rather than ‘standby’) your voice will come through on their end instantly.
In addition to being a full push-to-talk application, you can also replay the voice-notes that contacts have left you, and even send someone an ‘alert’ that will ring until they attend to it, and even attach a message – which makes notifying friends and family quick and easy. Heading to a braai and you’re outside your buddy’s door? You can send an alert instead of wasting minutes calling. This can apply to letting someone know you’re on your way, or you’ve arrived somewhere safely, or that you’re bring dinner home.
Another useful function is the ability to add channels, effectively permanent conference calls where you can create a list of people to communicate with simultaneously, with up to 1,000 contacts available on a single channel.
Zello gives us an old school novelty while also being useful for everyday communication. Whether you need to just give someone a quick message that’s more urgent than a normal voice note, or you’re traveling in convoy and want to quickly let a friend know you’re stopping at the garage, there are a surprising number of uses for a customisable and fast push-to-talk app. Give it a shot and see if you find it useful; over and out *Krrrr*!