Microsoft is making its Walkie Talkie feature of Microsoft Teams generally available to all users of its communications app today. Walkie Talkie lets Microsoft Teams users 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 launched widely on Android in September of 2020, but now Microsoft says it’s available for Zebra mobile devices as well as iPhones and iPads.
Microsoft has primarily pitched this at frontline workers, employees who are customer-facing and run day-to-day operations inside companies. The software maker’s collaboration with Zebra Technologies makes it work with a dedicated push-to-talk button for quick and secure communications. These devices are used widely by frontline workers, the employees that have helped steer the world through the ongoing pandemic.
Walkie-talkie features are still rare in communications apps. WhatsApp lets you record snippets of audio than can be sent and received, and Slack launched its Discord-like Huddles feature last year to let people drop in and out of calls easily. Apple did launch its own walkie-talkie feature on the Apple Watch in 2018, using push-to-talk over a FaceTime Audio call.
Correction January 14th, 6:57PM ET: An earlier version of this story said the walkie-talkie feature has been in preview ever since it was announced. In fact, it launched in general availability on Android devices in late 2020. We regret the error.