Microsoft is making its Microsoft Teams Walkie Talkie feature available to all users of its communications app today. Walkie Talkie allows Microsoft Teams users to turn smartphones or tablets into a walkie-talkie that works with mobile data or Wi-FI. It was originally announced two years ago and has been mostly available in preview ever since. The feature was widely released on Android in September 2020, but now Microsoft says it’s available for Zebra mobile devices as well as iPhone and iPad.
Microsoft has primarily released this to frontline workers, employees who are customer-facing and run daily operations within companies. The software manufacturer’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 guide the world through the ongoing pandemic.
Walkie-talkie features are 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 let people easily drop in and out of calls. Apple launched its own walkie-talkie feature on the Apple Watch in 2018, using push-to-talk over a FaceTime audio call.
Correction January 14, 6:57 pm ET: An earlier version of this story said that the walkie-talkie feature has been in preview since it was announced. In fact, it was released for general availability on Android devices in late 2020. We’re sorry for the mistake.