Microsoft is now making its Microsoft Teams Walkie Talkie feature available to all users of its communications app. Walkie Talkie allows Microsoft Teams users to turn smartphones or tablets into a walkie-talkie that works over cellular data or Wi-FI. It was originally announced two years ago and has been available mostly in preview ever since. The feature was widely released on Android in September 2020, but Microsoft now says it’s available for Zebra mobile devices as well as iPhones and iPads.
Microsoft primarily introduced this to front-line workers, employees who are in contact with customers and who manage day-to-day operations within companies. The software maker’s collaboration with Zebra Technologies makes it work with a dedicated push-to-talk button for fast and secure communications. These devices are widely used by frontline workers, the employees who have helped lead the world through the ongoing pandemic.
Walkie-talkie functionality is still rare in communications applications. WhatsApp lets you record audio snippets that can be sent and received, and Slack launched its Discord-like Huddles feature last year to make it easy for people to get in and out of calls. Apple launched its own walkie-talkie feature on the Apple Watch in 2018, using push-to-talk via a FaceTime Audio call.
Correction on January 14, 6:57 p.m. ET: An earlier version of this story stated that the walkie-talkie feature had been in preview since it was announced. In fact, it launched in general availability on Android devices in late 2020. We regret the error.