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Cross-Platform App: HeyTell Social Walkie Talkie

Some of my best childhood memories where those birthdays when I got a new set of walkie talkies, and headed out into the neighborhood. There was nothing better than immersing yourself in a land of make believe, sometimes we were the cops catching the robbers, while others we were astronauts looking for aliens.

This week I stumbled upon a cross platform application called HeyTell that simulates walkie talkies just like when we were kids. This is not some sort of Nextel push to talk wanna be, but more of a recorded voice message feature. The application sends short voice messages over your carriers data network all for the ever popular cost of $0.

In essence the application let’s you send and receive recorded voice messages with other HeyTell users. Simply open the app, select your recipient then press the button and speak. When you release the button your recorded message is sent. If your concerned about data usage, a voice message use about as much data as an email.

Users can either enable “push notifications” to notify you when an incoming message arrives, or turn off notifications and browse you messages when your fire up the app.

HeyTell also implements an optional GPS locator. If you enable GPS in your preferences the person whom you sent the message can click on the map and see your current location. This could make you feel a bit like a stalker, but could also be useful if you are trying to meet friends or relatives when in an unfamiliar area.

Privacy is always a concern when talking about social networking applications and HeyTell has not omitted privacy and security options. First off, you can either log in with your personal contact information stored in the address book or you can log in with your Facebook profile. Next, you can set your privacy level to either Low, Medium or High. Low lets anyone contact you as long as they have your email address or phone number. Medium only permits your friends and your friends’ friends contact you, while High security means only friends and people you contact can contact you in return.

I’m always on the lookout for ways to eliminate some costs on my cell phone bill and if you remember not long ago I detailed how you could implement Google Voice to eliminate your texting plan. HeyTell could also do just that. With the limited data consumed by voice messages it’s plausible to use this app for all you short messages, assuming the people you message roll with the same application.

If nothing else, HeyTell gives my family a neat, high tech way to communicate and yes, we still pretend, but with two daughters it’s more like they are movie stars and I am their bodyguard instead of cops and robbers. I miss the unreliability of those plastic walkie talkies, and constantly having to change the 9 volt batteries, but technology evolves and HeyTell marries fun to functionality.

What kind of low tech toys did you play with as a child that have all of a sudden become high tech gadgets or applications?


Tom Moccia

Tom Moccia is a native of Stamford, Connecticut and moved his family west in 2000 and now calls Stockton, California home with his wife and two...

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