When you think push-to-talk in the US, Sprint's Direct Connect
service is still the very first thing that comes to mind -- but Verizon and AT&T both continue to soldier on with their own significantly less popular solutions to meet the needs of niche markets that might otherwise bail for iDEN. Big Red's stable is getting a little bigger this week on news that the BlackBerry Tour 9630
will magically be made PTT-compliant through the availability of a new app tomorrow that'll work with Verizon's existing PTT plans. As soon as the app's installed, the Tour's so-called convenience button on the side will be instantly transferred into a PTT button, at which point you'll be chirping it up with the best of 'em -- and even better, the service will be free for anyone activating both a "qualifying" voice plan and BlackBerry data plan, so odds are good you won't actually pay a dime for the new functionality.
Separately, we're hearing that Verizon's Tour will be upgraded to BlackBerry OS 5.0 this evening, and push-to-talk is prominently listed as one of the new features added in the upgrade according to a GizmoFusion
leak -- so odds are very good these two pieces of news are related. In other words, even if you're not interested in PTT capability in the slightest, you should stand to benefit a bit from it as the spoils of 5.0 filter down to you; now let's just add in a WebKit-based browser
and we'll be good to go, right?
*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.