In a news releasepushed out today, Sprint has announced a new way for its Android customers to enter the world of push-to-talk. The push-to-talk functionality has long been a point of pride for Sprint/Nextel users who find it particularly useful for managing employees quickly on job sites. The Sprint Direct Connect Now app is being featured as a compromise for users who want access to the 1 million strong Sprint Direct Connect network, but don't necessarily want a device with the push-t0-talk button on the side.
The app is available now through Google Play, and requires Android 2.3.3 and up. The app offers 1to1 direct call functionality, interopability with other direct connect phones, group connect calls with up to 21 participants, call alerts, and syncronised contact lists. The app is currently only available for the Kyocera Rise, staying in family with the variety of other Kyocera devices with dedicated push-to-talk button and capability. The app should soon be available for the LG Optimus Elite as well.
Does this signal a new era of Direct Connect interoperability with multiple operating systems and platforms?
Here is the text of the news release:
Sprint Extends Push-to-Talk Capabilities to More Phones With Downloadable Android Application
Sprint Direct Connect Now makes handsets - without "the button" - push-to-talk ready
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), October 24, 2012 - Sprint (NYSE: S), the industry's push-to-talk pioneer and market leader, today announced the launch of Sprint Direct Connect Now, a downloadable Android application that enables push-to-talk capabilities on the Kyocera Rise and additional devices, including the LG Optimus Eliteâ„¢, coming soon.
Sprint Direct Connect Now, based on Qualcomm Inc.'s proven push-to-talk technology platform, effectively extends Sprint's growing push-to-talk franchise - with more than 1 million Sprint Direct Connect customers - to a new market of users who want push-to-talk but may not want the Direct Connect "button" that comes with it. Sprint Direct Connect Now can be installed on the Kyocera Rise by accessing the Google Play store and searching for "Sprint Direct Connect Now."
Sprint Direct Connect Now key features:
- Interoperable with Nextel Direct Connect and Sprint Direct Connect
- Group Connect calls up to 21 participants
- Call alerts to notify others you want to talk without interrupting
- Convenient touchscreen controls
- Displays contact image for speaker
- Synchronizes contacts with device's address book
- Creates favorites for most contacted Direct Connect contacts
"Consumers and businesses alike have a tool in Sprint Direct Connect Now that can help mobilize their lives, their businesses, and their workforces - on select phones other than those in the Sprint Direct Connect portfolio," said Tom Roberts, vice president-Marketing. "At the same time, Sprint Direct Connect Now is the ideal complement to our growing portfolio of rugged, military spec Sprint Direct Connect handsets that our longtime push-to-talk customers have grown accustomed to - especially construction workers, manufacturers and emergency responders."
"Sprint Direct Connect Now expands access to next-generation push-to-talk functionality," said Michael Wallace, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Internet Services. "This offering, leveraging Qualcomm's IP-based push-to-talk platform, enables functionality and device selection ideal for a broader base of consumers."
Sprint currently offers rugged Sprint Direct Connect handsets from Kyocera, including the DuraCore, DuraPlus and DuraXT. All three meet military specification 810G for dust, shock, vibration, extreme temperatures, blowing rain and immersion. Each comes with GPS navigation and can access 3G speeds on Sprint's broadband CDMA network.
The Sprint Direct Connect portfolio also includes the Motorola Admiral, a rugged 3G Android smartphone with touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard that is Wi-Fi-enabled and mobile hotspot capable.
Another milestone for Sprint Direct Connect
Sprint Direct Connect Now marks another major milestone for the Sprint push-to-talk franchise. The Sprint Direct Connect launch in October 2011 ushered in the next generation of PTT service from the company that pioneered push-to-talk. The service first offered broadband data capabilities, familiar push-to-talk features, rugged and reliable handsets, and a broadening push-to-talk coverage map.
Today, Sprint Direct Connect has matured into the industry's push-to-talk gold standard with:
- Triple the square miles of coverage compared to the company's legacy Nextel National Network
- Instant call setup time on domestic PTT calls
- International coverage to Latin American countries that most frequently use PTT service
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 56 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers and most improved in customer satisfaction across all industries during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2012 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation's greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.