Mike's NBC-TV stories

Walkie-Talkie Apps

The devastation of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma has pulled walkie-talkie apps into the spotlight as an effective, quick way to communicate during an emergency.

PC Mike Wendland has details on three you might want to consider downloading so you can be prepared, too.

The Zello app has been cited specifically as a “life-saver” in recent days. The app is well-designed, simple, and doesn’t have any annoying ads. Zello lets users create groups that can include literally hundreds of family, friends, or collaborators. It allows you to see who’s available or busy. You can also send photos. The app is free for iOS and Android.

Voxer offers a few more features than competing walkie-talkie-like apps. Users can chat with each other with the simple push of a button. If someone sends you a message and you’re busy, don’t worry – all messages are recorded for later access.  Not only that, but Voxer allows users to send photos, videos, and share their locations. The app is free for iOS and Android, with premium subscription services available for purchase.

HeyTell offers the ability to use your smartphone like a walkie-talkie, but with a few twists. There’s the add-on you can buy for a few bucks, for example, that lets you change your voice. You can also share audio blurbs to Facebook, or email them to friends. The app sends alerts when you get a message and don’t have the app open. It’s free for iOS and Android, with premium features available for purchase.

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.