Use your BlackBerry or Android phone or PC to instantly talk to a group of users – just like using walkie talkie radios! All of this for free (just pay for the bandwidth)! I suppose you could call it a VOIP app, since the voice does get converted to IP packets – but what’s different with this app is that the voice gets transmitted to a group of people and it comes over their phones’ speakers – like an intercom system!
This app is available for download from here: http://loudtalks.com/download and best of all it’s FREE. This allows public groups of up to 100 people – if you want to create private groups, then there’s the “Loudtalks Mesh or “Loudtalks Cloud” products.
The Cloud product is free to try out for up to 10 users, then there’s payment options to go larger groups up to 1,000 people.
In short, if you have your own server, then go for the Loudtalks Mesh option – else Loudtalks Cloud – which doesn’t require a server and is very quick to set up.
See here for a comparison: http://loudtalks.com/compare_products
Some of the features of the app are:
Loudtalks conversations are nearly as fast as face-to-face and possibly the fastest way to communicate online.
With Loudtalks you can voice message two, three or even a hundred people simultaneously.
Re-play your conversations when you want from the voice history.
Unlike traditional VoIP applications you don't have to use a headset with Loudtalks.
Loudtalks works over WiFi and 3G, and can be used on GPRS and EDGE.
Real-time, low latency
Voice-activated transmission (VOX) support
Currently, the app is available for BlackBerry and Android phones as well as PC (Windows and Linux using Wine):
BlackBerry - point your phone to: http://loudtalks.com/bb Note: that it does not use BIS – so if you are not using WiFi, then you will pay for the bandwidth used. Depending on your wireless provider and service plan using the app may cause data charges even if you have "unlimited email and browsing" BIS data plan. The app uses 110kB per minute talking, and 20kB per hour when idle. Regardless of your service plan you can always use the app on WiFi for free.
iPhone: iOS version will be released later this year (2011)
How to get going?:
Install the app then create an account and username,
then add contacts – once approved,
then you can try talking by pressing the PTT button (for BlackBerry it’s the convenience button on the LHS of the phone; for Windows it is F7) – keep that button down to talk, and release it to listen.
You can also create your own public channels that other people can search for and join.
I’ve tested the application with Vodacom in South Africa and has worked with WiFi and the Vodacom network on BlackBerry 9700 Bold and 8520 Curve.
Users with 3G handsets should enable the WAP2SR in the Options->Connection menu – this will reduce the high battery consumption.
If you get stuck, here’s a FAQ for BlackBerry users: http://loudtalks.com/bb_faq
Let me know if you have managed to successfully use the app – and for what purpose. I am going to suggest this for the local neighbourhood watch in my area.
Follow LoudTalks on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/loudtalks
Other similar apps that I’ve found are:
http://hipvoice.com/pricing Blackberry and other “rugged devices”, and not free
http://blabbelon.com Windows and iPhone
http://heytell.com Android and iPhone
http://voxer.com iPhone (soon Android)
http://www.itikl.com Android and iPhone (free)