One feature not present in the iPhone world is push to talk technology. We have all seen the commercials where a cell phone is used like a walkie talkie. Even though I have never been sure about if I would use the feature, it would be nice to have the option. It just seems easier in certain situations to basically voice MMS rather than make a call. Little did I know this feature was available for the iPhone in the App Store and for free! HeyTell is a voice messaging application that lets the user instantly talk with and locate contacts with a tap of the button. Lets take a look!
To begin using the app, choose yourself in the contacts list. This basically sets up the profile for the app since there is no account to sign up for. I was pleased with this since it gets old having to create an account and provide an email address for every service we sign up for. Friends and family you would like to chat with also need an iPhone and the HeyTell app which is not too bad since it is free. If you want to add another user and they do not have the app or do not allow to be added, the application will send a text message asking them to add you or download the app. Once everyone is on board, start talking. Anyone in a conversation can also be added as a favorite which makes contacting them much easier and faster.
Tapping on Profile will allow for all settings to be changed. One great feature is the Privacy Level. Set to low and anyone can contact you if they know your email address or phone number. Medium allows only friends and people in your address book to contact you. If the level is set to high, only friends and people you contact can contact you. The three levels should cover any user’s preferences. A new addition to this page also allows a Facebook log in which will add Facebook contacts to the menu. Kind of a neat feature if you have Facebook contacts that might have the app. Personally, I think my wife is just about the only person I need this service for (and that is not always! LOL).
HeyTell can be used over WiFi, 3G or Edge networks and uses about as much data as sending an email. Using the app is simple. See the big orange button? Hold it and speak. You do need to hold down the button the entire time you speak, but that is it. My wife and I used the app some, but there was no way to know how fast he messages were coming so we tried it both on WiFi and Edge sitting next to each other. Short messages come through in a matter of seconds. The longer the message, the longer it takes to be sent. I will say, I was amazed how fast the messages came and went and how the conversation flowed. If the app is not open, a push notification will alert any new messages. Messages can be played over the earpiece or speaker and the audio is crisp and clear. In fact, they sounded as good or better as a voice call over my speaker. Each message can be saved and opened while offline. Also, all messages are encrypted so privacy concerns are not an issue.
HeyTell allows users to easily share their exact location with contacts as well as see where those they are chatting with are. The button that looks like a cross hair target (far left in the middle) will show or hide the map. If the map is visible, your location can be seen by anyone you are chatting with. This is also how you see where your contact is. There will be a pin on the map labeled with the user’s name. To hide this feature, tap the button again and the screen will flip to show available messages. Not only is the ability to show and find locations a killer feature, being able to turn it on and off with one tap is awesome. Often, these types of features may not be used just because it is a pain to open settings and turn on and off. The location uses the GPS and has been spot on so far.
The HeyTell app is so simple to use and it seems to always work well. So far, no issues in quality or speed of the messages. Once again, the ability to use my iPhone as a walkie talkie is not something I will use often, but it does come in handy when my wife and I are outside with the boys or working around the house. To see a short video demo check out the HeyTell site here. The app is free and does not require any sign up, so go get it here in the app store and start getting your friends and family setup to chat.
What I like: This app actually works really well and is super simple to use.
What needs improvement: It would be awesome if the app could be used cross-platform or with other non-iPhone users.