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Walkie-Talkie App Zello Gets a Hurricane Boost
By Howard Cohen
Posted: September 7, 2017 8:38am PDT

Everyone's talking about Zello, but can you actually talk on Zello? One beneficiary of Hurricane Irma's ominous path toward South Florida: the live voice app Zello. Find it in the App Store on an iPhone or Play Store on an Android device.

People all over have been downloading and signing up for the free service and sharing their handles widely in anticipation of cellphone service being down because of Irma.

The walkie-talkie-styled app is said to have played a role in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. The idea is that channels can be designated for various groups to connect people without phone numbers for easier communication.

Sounds great, given the historically spotty access of cellular service in the wake of a major storm -- like Irma is certain to be.

But, according to Zello, the app can't work when there isn't cellular data service, WiFi or an internet connection on your smartphone.

Many people took to social media to gripe Wednesday. Zello responded via its Twitter account: "There has been some misinformation spread about Zello requirements. ... Zello REQUIRES using either WiFi or a cellular data network of at least 2G."

So the bottom line is: if Zello works, chances are so will your cellphone. However, it does have group messaging capabilities that can be superior to simple text messaging.

© 2017 Miami Herald. Syndicated here under contract with YellowBrix, Inc. All rights reserved.

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