Sprint wants to bring a little Nextel back into more of its phones. Specifically, the much-loved walkie-talkie bit.
The company said on Monday that select Android smartphones will be able handle push-to-talk communications through a simple app available in the Google Play store. Sprint Direct Connect Now is free on some plans, although many plans charge an additional $5 for the feature.
Sprint Direct Connect Now is the company's way of easing Nextel customers back into the fold. Even up until the shut down of the Nextel network last year, customers were on their Nextel phones with the familiar chirp of the push-to-talk function. Nextel customers were fans of the feature, which offered faster response times than a typical cellular call.
The walkie-talkie features was one of the core hang-ups that slowed the integration of the Sprint and Nextel networks. Sprint had worked for years to create a push-to-talk service that could run on its network as well as it did on Nextel, but only managed the feat in the recent years.
Update, 9:19 a.m. PT: Clarified that Sprint's Direct Connect Now app has been available for some Android devices since 2012.