HipVoice (sorta) Brings Push To Talk on BlackBerry Now, iPhone Soon


hipvoice-blackberryPTT, or Push To Talk, is pretty common for business teams that are spread out and I can see why. You may need instant information from a peer who’s at another job-site, for example. Using PTT, your phone is essentially a half-duplex, walkie-talkie so you can have a semi-real-time conversation. Well, that’s assuming you can translate the oft-garbled communications; I think my vintage G.I.Joe walkie-talkie kit from the 1970’s sounded better in some cases.

Some U.S. carriers offer handsets that support the PTT service, but it requires specific hardware and typically works only within the particular carrier’s network. HipVoice intends to change the rules for PTT with their service that’s carrier independent. Another rule they’re changing is the traditional definition of PTT, because their clever solution is designed very differently from standard Push To Talk services. You still press a button to talk, but what happens after that is completely different from today’s PTT.


In this demonstration video showing HipVoice on two BlackBerry devices, one on AT&T and the other on Verizon Wireless, you’ll see what I mean. There’s a bit of a delay between the sender and the recipient, which tipped me off that HipVoice is different under the hood. And then there’s the PTT History feature where you can replay any of your received messages.

While it’s a super feature, it makes me think that what HipVoice calls PTT is really an application that digitally records your voice message and then quickly sends the recorded file to your recipient. On their handset, the HipVoice client application plays it back. It’s not quite as fast as true PTT, but it does improve it in two ways: you have a history of your conversations (well, half of them anyway) and it’s offers far better audio quality. HipVoice says that they can store all messages on their server for audit purposes, making the service useful in the enterprise where this type of communication is required to be archived. An additional benefit: the company says that their PTT service works between handhelds and desktop computers. That’s a nice feature for quick communications between a job-site and the home office.

HipVoice already supports Windows Mobile, Motorola/Symbol devices and other platforms, mainly through OEMs and costs as little as $10 a month. The BlackBerry support launched a few days ago and the company is finalizing support for Symbian handsets soon. Additionally, the plans include HipVoice on Apple and Android devices. HipVoice might not be PTT as we’ve known it, but perhaps it’s the natural evolution of PTT.


Matt B

I think you’re right about the whole record then send over data thing. But it’s almost instant. It’s a good idea especially where you can’t text driving down the road (and you shouldn’t anyways). I also think that if you would have problems using it over 1X…. think about Verizon anyways. Their “true” push to talk doesn’t have service in areas that aren’t “EVDO” anyways….


It looks like to be using the data to send the PTT. You almost can do that now with any blackberry running 4.5 and above; maybe even the other OS. You do this by using the Blackberry Messanger where you click send a voice note. This sends your voice over data and the other BB gets it. The only thing is that you have open the voice note on the other end which is in a way better so you don’t have broadcast the conversation, either way I rather call the other person. The only time I use the voice notes on the BB is when I just want to send a memo or voice text since we out here in Ca. cant text anymore but I can send a quick note.


IMHO PTT is overrated.

Let’s see who is the target audience for this service, I guess construction workers, cab drivers and similar profession.

Why do they need PTT, because they are on the move and quickly want to communicate.

Issues with VOIP based PTT:

1. Requires Data Service. If you have no data or slow data coverage (1x) it becomes useless.

2. Requires high end phones, typically associated with low battery life and not so rugged for use in environment they will be used.

I am sure this service will find its niche market but $10 a month seems too high.


Interestingly Psion is listed on HipVoice’s website as a supporting ‘Carrier/Manufacturer’. More fuel for the debate. I used to think PTT was a gimmick but I can see its value in both trades and enterprise.


Oh no… that just means more idiots walking down the street (or standing in line at the cash register) having a PTT conversation with their idiot friends.

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