Banking on the success of push-to-talk mobile phone services, Sprint Nextel on Monday announced a walkie-talkie service for sharing photographs.
Nextel Direct Send Picture lets customers send a picture to a person on the other end of a Nextel Walkie-Talkie call, without interrupting the call itself. The picture simultaneously appears on both the users and recipients phones during the call, and they can both view and discuss it.
“If youre in business, construction or real estate, you would take a picture of the property that you were trying to sell, and share that information with [recipients] so they can get a picture of what youre talking about,” said Beverly Hodges, director of instant communication services at Sprint in Reston, Va.
Direct Send Picture is available immediately on the Motorola i870 phone, and will be included on all future Nextel phones, Hodges said. Software upgrades to enable Direct Send Picture will be available by the end of the year for several Nextel phone models, including the Motorola i850, i760, i560, i355 and i275.
The Direct Send Picture will be free until Feb. 28, 2006. Following the promotional period, users will have to pay a per-image fee of 25 cents for images sent and received. In addition, customers may be charged for Nextel Walkie-Talkie usage for the period of the call before and after the image is transmitted, depending on a customers rate plan.
As with the Walkie-Talkie push-to-talk service, Direct Send Picture will run on the Nextel iDen network. Once competitors in the wireless communications industry, Sprint and Nextel merged in August.
While the Walkie-Talkie service currently runs only on the iDen network, officials said there are plans to bring push-to-talk and other Walkie-Talkie services to Sprints main wireless network.
“The goal is to allow the same functions on the next-gen platform,” Hodges said.
Walkie-Talkie services for Sprints next-generation wireless network are due in 2008, Hodges said.