Mike Langberg, from the San Jose Mercury News, is absolutely enthusiastic when he writes about push-to-talk service. Here is his opening paragraph.
Push-to-talk could be the biggest upgrade to mobile phones since wireless service first became affordable a decade ago.
With push-to-talk, also known as PTT, callers organize a group of co-workers or friends. By pushing a button on your phone, everyone in the group can hear you simultaneously and immediately, without having to hit the green "answer" button.
On Aug. 18, Verizon Wireless became the first mass-market wireless carrier to offer PTT; the only PTT provider previously was Nextel, which mostly aims at business users.
The other national wireless carriers soon will follow, and it will cost you around a fixed $20 per month to start with -- plus the cost for actually using it.
Landberg shows us how the service works with Verizon Wireless.
Motorola's V60p, [the only available compatible phone for the service,] is a standard ultra-compact flip phone; the only visible difference is a small black PTT button on the left side. When you push the PTT button, you see the list of your PTT contacts. Using up and down arrow keys, you highlight the individual or group you want to call. Then you push and hold the PTT button, wait about two seconds for a beep that confirms the connection, and start talking.
At the other end, everyone in your group hears a notification beep and then your voice. If the V60p is set in speakerphone mode -- recommended for PTT communication -- you'll be heard clearly even if the phone is clipped to a belt or purse strap.
When you finish talking and remove your finger from the PTT button, everyone else hears another beep. The next person to press his or her PTT button gets to respond. Someone else in the group hitting the button a second later gets a busy signal beep and has to wait.
You could set up a group for family members, another for friends, a third for one project at work and a fourth for another work project. One person could appear in several groups, and there's lots of room to expand -- Verizon Wireless allows a maximum of 150 PTT contacts in 50 groups, with each group holding as many as 10 contacts.
If someone knows about such a service in France, send me a note.
Source: Mike Langberg, San Jose Mercury News, August 28, 2003
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