Phone calls suck because you're stuck talking to someone in real time. Text messages suck because we all have Godzilla thumbs compared to the keys on these ridiculous touchscreen keyboards. There must be another way. There is! Walkie talkie smartphones.
What is it?
HeyTell, iPhone and Android, $1.19. Talking will always be faster than typing, but unless you're my Aunt Bettie, I'm probably not going to actually ring you up to have a conversation. That's just the way it is. HeyTell, a free app for iOS and Android, lets you instantly send brief voice messages to other HeyTell app-havers at the touch of a button. Those soundbites are saved in sequence for later review, and a slew of in-app purchases lets you do things like add effects to your voice, broadcast a message to multiple friends, etc. But the gist of it is essentially turning your phone into an expensive walkie talkie you can use anywhere, which can be a liberating feeling.
Who's it good for?
People who miss the golden days of walkie talkies; people who despise both calling and texting; people looking for an easy way to communicate cross-platform.
Why's it better than alternatives?
It's free, it's simple, and it works. The ability to go back and review messages will undoubtedly be fun when I start using this when I'm drunk, and cross platform support should make many roommates/couples/families happy.
How could it be even better? Setting things up was a little bit wonky - I couldn't add Jason from my contacts list and he had to send me an email invite to get things working. Also, you have to select your name from your own address book when you start, which is why Jason shows up as "My HeyTell" in my conversations with him.
HeyTell, iPhone | iTunes
For more apps, check out our weekly app roundups for iPhone, iPad and Android.