Nextel popularized the walkie-talkie style push-to-talk communications concept well over a decade ago. The technology found a heavy following in the business world but ultimately fizzled out into irrelevancy as modern-day smartphones gained prominence.
You may be surprised to learn that the feature is actually still around today although it isn't nearly as popular as it once was. Verizon is hoping to change that, however, with the launch of their new Push to Talk Plus service for wireless customers.
In a press release on the matter, Verizon said they've enhanced push-to-talk with upgrades like improved voice quality and faster call set up times across their 4G LTE network.
They've even added a couple of features designed specifically for conference calling. Talker Priority allows the person that initiates the call to override a group call and be the only speaker that everyone else hears. Late Join, meanwhile, allows people to join in on the call in the event they are running a few minutes late while Rejoin lets you pop in and out of a conference call at will.
The service is powered by Kodiak Networks, one of the leaders in push-to-talk platforms, we're told.
Push to Talk Plus is available on select smartphones including the Droid Maxx, Samsung's Galaxy S5 and the Casio C'zOne Commando. Verizon is also planning to bring the service to the rugged Kyocera Brigadier in the near future.
Those that sign up for the service now will get the first six month free of charge. After that, expect to pay a $5 monthly fee for the opportunity.