Sprint brings walkie-talkie feature to more Android phones

Nostalgic for that Nextel push-to-talk capability? Sprint brings the feature back through a free app that works with select Android phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S4 and LG G2.

The G Flex is one of several Android phones that now has the push-to-talk capability. Sprint

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 Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, LG G2, G Flex, Optimus F3, and Kyocera Hydro Edge are the latest phones to get the capability, while three other Samsung phones are in the works. Sprint first launched the app back in 2012, but the Kyocera Rise was the only compatible device.

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.

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About the author

Roger Cheng is the executive editor in charge of breaking news for CNET News. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade. He's a devoted Trojan alum and Los Angeles Lakers fan.

 

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