The walkie talkie is making a resurgence. Its popularity isn’t just because of the popular, conventional form, but also to smartphone walkie talkie apps. These apps have helped create a richer ecosystem where users can freely communicate, listen to channels, or even create channels of their own.
Powerful as they are in their own right, the smartphone-based walkie talkie apps require the internet to operate. Although most of them use strong voice compression, so they can work even with a 2G network. However, unless heavily modified, a mobile phone cannot directly communicate with a conventional walkie talkie. If direct communication without involving mobile networks is your goal, buy a two way radio that communicates over radio frequencies. For a longer range and a variety of uses, walkie talkie apps are excellent tools.
Coolest Walkie Talkie Apps For Android This Year
1. Zello PTT Walkie Talkie
Zello PTT Walkie Talkie has unfailingly made the list of the best walkie talkie apps for a long time. And for good reason! This app is easy to use, has a wonderful ecosystem, and its features add usability and value. Zello is a PTT (push to talk) app, but it can also be used for sending text and pictures.
The app has full support for Bluetooth headsets, which adds to its value and use. You can go more advanced and the app also offers compatibility with Android Network Radios and Radio Gateways. Of course, the latter two are solutions more geared towards enterprise users, but it does go on to show the power and scope of this app.
Users need to sign up to use Zello. Once the process is complete, you can access your phone’s address book and talk to contacts that are using the app. You can have a conversation with a single user, or create private and public groups to interact with other users. There are also several channels that are worth following and listening to.
Zello is available for free, though it also offers paid versions with some extra features and uses.
2. Two Way : Walkie Talkie
Simplicity is the biggest virtue of the Two Way: Walkie Talkie app. This app does not know frills and is completely devoted to communication, acting like a walkie talkie. You don’t need to sign up to use this app, it’s good to go the moment you fire it up.
Being a no-frills app means there are no features like having private conversations or talking to people specifically in your address book. However, it does allow you to talk over specific channels. Given the large variety of channels available, there is a chance you will find one that has some semblance of privacy. All you need to do is move to the keypad section and enter the channel number. Do keep in mind, all channels are public. You might find a channel that doesn’t have any other people, but anyone can join a channel.
The app allows users some control over the activity and range afforded. Users can go as large as national, or limit their conversations to the local region.
3. Voxer Walkie Talkie Messenger
Voxer Walkie Talkie Messenger combines the features of traditional instant messaging apps with a walkie talkie service. With its ability to handle threaded messages, create group chats, and support for sending/receiving gifs, this app can appear very functional. And of course, there’s still the fun of using its PTT features.
This app isn’t quite built to send your voice over a wide area. Interactions with strangers isn’t a part of this app. It works best if other people in your address book are using it as well, so have people to have conversations with. It doesn’t allow forming channels and broadcasting yourself like Zello does, but then it is meant to be more of a messenger. Voxer has a pro (paid) mode where users get access to features like hands-free mode and recalling sent voice messages.
FireChat takes an interesting approach to app-based walkie talkies. The app does not inherently rely on the internet for use. In fact, its biggest selling point is that FireChat can be used even when you’re not connected to the internet. To make that possible, the app makes use of Bluetooth and peer-to-peer WiFi. In this mode, you can talk to other FireChat users, though the range is limited to 20 feet. It’s an interesting approach, though do we really need a walkie talkie app to talk to someone 20 feet away?
Its full features become more apparent and likable when you’re connected to the internet. FireChat allows public messages like a conventional PTT system. However, you can also use it for private conversations, knowing that all private messages have end-to-end encryption. Whether it is connected or offline, the app allows users to send and receive text and pictures as well.
HeyTell attempts to pack in several features. It is a cross-platform system that is available on iOS, Android, and can even connect to your Facebook account to link with friends. At the same time, it tries to show an appreciation for your privacy, by making a three-tiered privacy system available. This system makes it easier for you to decide who can contact you. Interestingly, the app also includes a voice changer so users can “hide” their voice to maintain anonymity. Though it has an interesting suite of features available, the app also has some bugs that can be a big annoyance. It is still worth exploring and fun to try.