Quick Review: Verizon Wireless Push to Talk for the BlackBerry Bold 9650 and Tour 9630

Verizon Push to Talk
By Adam Zeis on 22 Jun 2010 12:44 pm
1
loading...
1
loading...
1
loading...

While I was exploring some of the new icons on the BlackBerry Bold 9650 from Verizon, I jumped into the Application Center and saw the Push to Talk. There was a decent amount of buzz about it when it was released, so I figured I'd download it and give it a shot. The feature has to be added to your account (at $5/month) and currently works on both the Tour 9630 and Bold 9650. I was pretty excited to fire it up, and since I'm not a big phone guy I thought I may get some good use out of it. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Verizon's idea of Push to Talk isn't what you would think. Its not a quick "press a button and send a message". Verizon actually connects you to the contact through a PTT "call" where you then push the left convenience key to record your message. From this point on the entire process was lost to me. I could just as easily call a contact and talk to them instead of calling them via PTT and having to press a button to talk to them.

Verizon Push to Talk

You add contacts using their Verizon phone number and they appear in your PTT contact list. There aren't a ton of options in the app itself. You an enable or disable PTT (at which point you show as unavailable). There are no options to choose your PTT key either. The app takes over your left convenience key which could be bothersome for certain users (like myself). You can then initiate either an "alert call" or a "barge call" to your contacts. The alert call option will show your contact you are trying to start a chat and they will have the option to accept or decline. This works as it should and is fairly unobtrusive. The barge call however simply broadcasts your message to the recipient without an alert. Extremely annoying and mostly pointless in my opinion. I for one wouldn't want my contacts blasting messages without alerting me first. 

Verizon Push to Talk

Once connected to a contact, you press the convenience key to record your message and it is sent. Messages from your contact come in while connected and that's that. Want to do something else on your device while connected? Press the End key and you can go for it ... only your chat is ended and you'll have to reconnect again to pick things up. I couldn't figure out if it is at all possible to stay connected to a chat and use other features on the device at the same time.  I really don't think there is a way to do it and found the overall process confusing.

You an also create groups within PTT which is useful for chatting with a large number of contacts at the same time - family members, friends, employees etc. I can see the benefits in using the group chat, but again the drawbacks of the service itself take away from the overall usefullness of the app. 

All in all I really fail to find the point of Push to Talk with Verizon. It sounds like a great idea, but the execution falls short. There is really no benefit from what I can see to using PTT over just calling a contact. Sure its great for quick "walkie talkie" style chat, but it doesn't quite pull it off. If you're thinking about trying it out, save yourself the $5 and just make a call, it's much less frustrating. 

30 comments

XWolf

I also fail to see the point of PTT.

JRF_1986

In Mexico, Nextel's PTT is widely used as it's cheap and allows quick access to other Nextel users nationwide. Too bad their coverage is spotty and most of the time people are like "what?" but it still is a great option. Too bad the Verizon version isn't as smooth. PTT is a great option whenever you have great coverage and almost everyone you know uses it.

lajuan08

Lol! Unbelievable! Verizon needs to delete the PTT and leave that to Nextel.

tweihermuller

PTT isn't entirely useless. I manage our corporate BlackBerry infrastructure and we utilize PTT as another form of communicating in a large warehouse/office complex.

John Yester

Yep Adam pretty much sums it up. In our testing it was like "this is it"? Why? What? hmm Ok...... I mean come on Verizon... Plus the way the app takes stuff over is a big - IMO

JCFox

The PTT sounds complicated, and it sounds like it does not work like the Nextel PTT - it's not an instant radio style call.

It really is just a method of exchanging Voice Notes.

That being said - just use a BBM Voice Note. It is faster to set up, AND it is FREE.

MissLady_D.I.

VZW is actually better than Nextels PTT. I can see how it would be frustrating for the average user, but the thing is it isn't even meant to have a mass appeal to regular consumer accounts. Its primary focus is for business customers. And it is actually free for us on our Blackberrys.

glinc

Oh really??? and where do you get that from?? Nextel PTT has always been superior than VZW/ATT PTT. Only problem was the coverage is not as big.

Try PTTing someone in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Chile or some other South American countries.

yayarea

Is it me or what? Nextel has been doing this for quite some time...then AT&T picked it up but it didn't really stick with consumers. I tried it when I had my curve and it was cool but not that important. Now Verizon is promoting this like it's some new great thing? I don't get it...

dmonty

As a user of PTT for VZW I like it.

It doesn't record your voice and it is just as fast as Nextel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR4HZn-WaME

thedan862

I have it on my Tour and my Daughter has it on hers and we use it from time to time with no problems. It’s a quick simple way to ask or reply to something without getting things confused through text messaging. I like it and consider it a useful tool.

TillMarch

Is this the same as the push2talk application in Appworld?

Bison 77

Thanks, was gonna add this to my contract when i pick up my 9650 today. Atleast now i know, and knowing is half the battle.

piper975

This seems to be a clear cut case of incorrect labeling of a product and is going to create a lot of confusion. It is not PTT (Push-to-talk) it is PTR (Push-To-Record) to send voice messages. Why not spell out the differences between the real PTT and this knock-off PTR and spell out the real benefits of PTT for your readers with such devices as the 8350i and old school 7100i.

dmonty

It doesn't record...it is a half duplex telephone conversation only activated by the PTT key on the phone.

piper975

He states and I quote "Verizon actually connects you to the contact through a PTT "call" where you then push the left convenience key to record your message." Sure sounds like Push-To-Record to me ???

GLOCK_Daddy

Ive had PTT since it was available for the Tour, and am now using it on my Bold too. I use it all day every day for work, and find it to be quite useful. I don't believe Big Red is marketing it to be used by the normal BB user. If they were, I would think that they would make it available for all BB models. For the corporate user (me and the other 100 employees that I work with) it works as its designed. My employer actually pays for the PTT on my Tour, I get it free on my Bold.

jeffmeden

"I don't believe Big Red is marketing it to be used by the normal BB user."

And. Thank. God.

I was glad when the jerk-holes with Nextel who would casually use PTT in the middle of a restaurant to 'beep' their wife to tell them to record the nascar race (only to get into a 10 minute argument that the whole restaurant could hear both sides of) had all died off. If Verizon brought that back, I just may have become a shut-in and turned off all forms of communication in protest.

If you think "oh it's like a phone call only I push the button" then PTT is *not*for*you*. Just make the damn phone call. PTT is meant for broadcast communication, walkie-talkie style, and serves no point to be used casually.

kyleh1010

i have had nextel and verizon ptt service. verizon is just as good with more coverage. the connect sound is not as cool, but for short conversations with an individual or group you can not beat ptt. for example, family members you talk to several times a day for short periods, or coworkers when you only need to talk with them for a few seconds

jreiners

I dont know where you are coming from saying it records and sends, my coworkers and i can use it and it is almost instant, I can hear myself on their phone before I let go of the button. it transmits instantly. I am in construction and it works great, even in rural areas (where my old nextel would not work at all). All in all i am just as happy with it as my old nextel, PTT on a smart phone was the only thing missing from Verizon. I have had some hiccups when sending a message and it will say contact is busy. but I resend the message and it works wonderfully. Would i use it to talk to our crane operator while under a load? hell no! but that is what my 2-way is for. But for quick questions to my employees, from anywhere, verizon PTT is critical for my daily business and i encourage everyone to try it. All in all for the 2 months i have been using it, I give it a 8 out of 10. any issues or questions feel free to PM me. Thanks guys!

ranbal

...NOT! Geeze Kevin, don't you screen this stuff before your boy blabs a bunch of inaccurate info that really does nothing but fuel endless debate? C'mon Adam, give us yet another ahhh inspiring review... can't wait.

irocroe#CB

I honestly think if you want PTT on your phone, then just go Nextel. But The PTT makes the phone bulky. I had Nextel and left them for Big Red.

gregerator

Obviously we have a big difference in opinion here. While I'm on TMO and have no interest in PTT, I would like to know why there is such a discrepancy in the two reports.

markj73

The feature has to be added to your account (at $5/month)
(WRONG! it's FREE for life, for BlackBerry users!)

and currently works on both the Tour 9630 and Bold 9650.

Got that much right...

I was pretty excited to fire it up, and since I'm not a big phone guy I thought I may get some good use out of it. I couldn't have been more wrong.

More like could not have been more stupid!

Verizon's idea of Push to Talk isn't what you would think.

Yes it is exactly what I think much like a RADIO Push to Talk, ever used a CB/FRS radio very similar just higer quality/range...

Its not a quick "press a button and send a message". Verizon actually connects you to the contact through a PTT "call" where you then push the left convenience key to record your message. From this point on the entire process was lost to me.

Yes it is a quick press... and ur not sending a message that's why it's called Push to TALK not push to message...
Apparently you get lost easily, are you related to that woman in UT who was walking down the middle of the hwy because her BlackBerry told her to?

I could just as easily call a contact and talk to them instead of calling them via PTT and having to press a button to talk to them.

Not necessarily... and it's great the other way around, as your hands are not free, they can tell you something important/quick you don't have to drop what ur doing to hear them warn you of something or tell you to stop what ur doing!

There are no options to choose your PTT key either. The app takes over your left convenience key which could be bothersome for certain users (like myself).

I can set it to my right side convenience key on my tour, what are you too dumb to go into options -> screen/keyboard and change it!

The barge call however simply broadcasts your message to the recipient without an alert. Extremely annoying and mostly pointless in my opinion. I for one wouldn't want my contacts blasting messages without alerting me first.

Ok, so you don't want someone to be able to warn you about something dangerous, just hope you decide to stop and take the time to answer? Say 20 feet up on a ladder... Hell yea it's nice to have the Barge, if you don't like it don't add them as a contact LOL... if you don't want it "blasting" turn the volume down....

Once connected to a contact, you press the convenience key to record your message and it is sent. Messages from your contact come in while connected and that's that.

NO try again....

All in all I really fail to find the point of Push to Talk with Verizon. It sounds like a great idea, but the execution falls short.

I think you fall short!

Cbarnes2479

I use PTT every day and love it. My fire department is switch over to it and the end of the month.

steveconso

It's $5, but if you call a VZW CSR to activate the feature before June 30, VZ will apply a 100% discount (make sure you ask for it if the CSR doesn't mention it). The discount applies for as long as you own the device - not some teaser period like 6 months or a year, but indefinitely!

It's waaay better than VZW's foray into PTT 4 or 5 years ago - back then it was just plain horrible. This time around, they got it right. It is every bit as good as Nextel's PTT IMHO. Try it yourself - it's free!

ghhjknjkni

Hello! The burning hot summer arrived, this is the demonstration stature good season,
the retreat winter sincere appearance, lets lithe, the individuality, the fashion,
the sex appeal, mature you start from here! Has a good news to tell everybody: Recently,
every bought full 200 US dollars in this company, then has the present to see off,
Vietnam which buys delivers are more, please do not miss this good opportunity!!!
welcome to :====== http://jordanto.com ====

free shipping
competitive price
any size available
accept the paypal
LKJHGF

cdiefert

it does not record your voice for one thing it is just as fast as nextel and if u have a blackberry it is free for the life of the phone. i use it on a day to day basis, also u can change the ptt key to whatever key u want mine is set up on right convience key and works fine

Fisurman

Wow...what a horrible review. The PTT is instant and does not "record your message"...I used AT&T PTT years ago and it was horrible. There was a 6/7 second delay and it was not reliable. So far the VZW PTT works great and made my Tour an even better tool for work. Get your facts straight dude.

pnutvndr

I don't wave the Verizon flag and I am not a Verizon loyalist. But deserved props where they belong...
I drive in Hollywood Ca. a lot using two services in my car;
Verizon and Nextel/Sprint. In the Hollywood Hills when Nextel is showing a NO SERVICE, Verizon is still talkin' and dialin'. However, if it's not in the hills then Nextel PTT is great. Verizon coverage is greater, in L.A. Ca. at least. If this is important to you, then all the other stuff is moot. PTT is pretty much the same as it has been since my Radio Shack Walkie Talkie days...just don't say "c'mon" too often...over...