HeyTell VOIP App for Android, iPad, and iPod Touch
Let me tell you about a new App I just discovered.
I really like it. It's called "HeyTell", and it implements a very effective Internet - "Walkie Talkie" - for Android, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. It's becoming very popular because it's completely free, simple, and effective. Explore the links on this page to watch video clips and learn more about it.
It's halfway between email and Skype, with a little voicemail thrown in.
Like Skype, the quality of the audio is very high, and much better than a phone call. But instead of Skype's continuous, real-time, 2-way audio, HeyTell only transmits your voice while you're holding down the big "transmit" button that they draw at the bottom of the app's display. You can hold that button down for as long as 30 seconds while you speak, as the sound of your words is digitized. When you release the button, the digitized sound is transmitted across the Internet, rather like an email message, to a designated - "HeyTell Friend", who will typically hear it commence within 3 or 4 seconds.
At the other end of the conversation, if your friend has HeyTell minimized while doing something else, then (s)he will hear an alert tone instead of your voice, and a HeyTell "Message From" icon pops into view on the notification taskbar with your HeyTell name that can be touched whenever the message bar is scrolled into view in the usual fashion. Touching the little "message from" icon will immediately open up HeyTell, and your message is played. After that, as both of you are now seeing the HeyTell screen, you can each continue to talk, taking turns and exchanging audio messages as if using a pair of - "Walkie Talkies".
It's also a little like - "texting", but better, because you don't have to type anything.
But it gets better: Suppose you send a message but your friend can't respond right away. You might send another message. And another, and another. You might just decide to handle some situation with a series of detailed audio statements, one after the other. When your HeyTell friend next checks their notification area and touches the resulting HeyTell notification icon, ALL of your audio clips are automagically played, in sequence, one by one, without delay, and you can rest assured that you'll be heard, so long as you don't fill up their entire HeyTell - "inbox".
But it gets better still! HeyTell maintains a prominent list of recent conversations, and a - "long touch" on one of the entries on the - "conversations" - list allows you to touch and hear any single sound clip in the entire conversation, in any order of your choosing. But they didn't stop there: Individual, sequential, short clips from the same person are automagically merged into single files for your convenience, and with a - "long touch" - HeyTell will email that audio clip to anybody for whom you have an email address.
I was using version 22.214.171.124 for this review, as published in mid 2011. On my Archos I70 Internet tablet running Android 2.2, HeyTell uses 3.88 MB of RAM space, and 100kb of cache. Stored data depends on the number of messages you retain before deleting them, and I found I had tied up 2MB after a full day of rather heavy use during my testing for this publication.
There are other Internet - "Walkie Talkie" - apps out there, and some have garnered a strong following. But the others all seem to require a cell phone number, or membership in Facebook, or an SMS account. HeyTell requires none of those things. It just works. Identification is done through your email address, and it's even possible to bypass that requirement.
One final comment: This app is add supported, and I like that. The ad space is small, tasteful, and non-intrusive. I hope the industry develops lots of free, ad-supported apps that pay their developers when interested users access relevant, interesting ads. This is the best model I can think of for the future of app developers, and I encourage my viewers to take full advantage of it by accessing relevant ads.
I have absolutely no relationship with the developers of HeyTell, but It really seems like they've thought of everything: It's part email, part voice mail, part walkie-talkie, tastefully ad supported, and completely free. Look for it in the Android Market or on iTunes, and tell your friends so they can join you in the fun!