Is HeyTell the Next Killer Smartphone App?

By  |  Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I have a confession to make. I am absolutely addicted to HeyTell, and I’ve actually managed to get a good portion of my friends on it. What is HeyTell? Putting it simply, it’s a smartphone app for both iOS and Android which gives you “push-to-talk” capability. Users send messages to one another by recording messages. The company says that these audio files typically are no bigger than an e-mail, allowing them to be transferred quickly.

The fun factor of this app hasn’t escaped mobile phone users: about four million registered users are now on the app. The most surprising thing may be the fact that there is no huge company behind this: it’s merely a husband and wife developer team–Steven Hugg and Jen Harvey.

Word of mouth has propelled this app to where it is, as Hugg and Harvey haven’t done any significant advertising on its behalf. This just goes to show you this thing is real–and the company’s recent server upgrades (which apparently let it handle about 100 million users) also provide some anectodal evidence that those people are sticking around.

According to a recent post on TechCrunch, users on average are sending about 1.5 million messages per day on the service, and at peak times 35 messages are received every second. That sure sounds like success to me.

The possibilities for use of this app are nearly endless. For example, texting and driving is a problem. Now, I’m not advocating this at all, but I’ve heard from a number of friends that this solves that problem because you’re not looking down to text, and you aren’t keeping you hands off the wheel too long to hold the phone to your ear.

Another use is to end the “where are you?” question (God, that has to be the most annoying text/phone call ever!). By clicking the locator button before sending your message, your location is sent and displayed on the screen of the person who receives it. Kind of nifty if you ask me.

Yes, there are drawbacks. First off, its not instantaneous. That means the user will first have to download and listen to your message first before responding, and vice versa. This adds quite a bit of lag to conversations (although keeping your “chirps” short minimizes this). Also HeyTell is a bit buggy at times — sometimes I find messages don’t download properly requiring me to restart to receive them.

Regardless, this app has that “killer” feel to it. It adds value to the device rather than just being gimmicky. Add in its fun factor and I really do think HeyTell is on to something here. It may have not been the first push-to-talk app, but it’s certainly the best one.


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15 Comments For This Post

  1. dan f. Says:

    lol nice pun to kick off that third paragraph.

  2. The_Heraclitus Says:

    "Now, I’m not advocating this at all, but I’ve heard from a number of friends that this solves that problem because you’re not looking down to text, and you aren’t keeping you hands off the wheel too long to hold the phone to your ear."
    ?????? For YEARS now (even before smart phones) while driving, you just touch your earbud, say the contacts name and your connected to the person or, their VM. You guys should cover that.;)

  3. R Wagner Says:

    GREAT App! A friend was flying from New York to Seattle and we were able to chat via Hey Tell using wifi on iPod Touches using the airline wifi. FaceTime didn’t connect and we weren’t set up for anything else. A walkie-talkie type app, it is simple to use.

  4. Mike Says:

    I do not understand why Dragon Dictate isn't always an input option for every iPhone app.

  5. John Says:

    HeyTell is great. I rarely send money to a developer unless their app is over the top. I bought their "Group" add-on just to support the cause.
    This is the App Store at its best – bringing utility to the iPhone for very little money. I would not be surprised if Apple bought or developed this kind of app and included it as a part of the iPhone software package. It is that good.

  6. don Says:

    AMEN to that!!

  7. Bill Says:


  8. Lynn Says:

    Not exactly certain how this is different from leaving a voicemail message via the phone.

  9. robertmhoehn Says:


    Thank you so much for covering this app. I absolutely love this app and use it a ton for work and personal use with friends. Its great to hear that its merely a husband and wife team – I wasn't sure who was behind the development of it. I encourage everyone to buy the add-ons if nothing more to support their development efforts.

    It truly is a killer app!

    Rob Hoehn

  10. Ken Salois Says:

    Fabulous app. All phones should have it to replace SMS/text. Makes the cockpit safer by all means. I can't believe people still attempt to text and drive but I see it all the time. It's not going to happen to them. Thanks for a great solution. Get rid of texting and make HeyTell a part of EVERY phone. Only one improvement, make it interact with bluetooth devices a bit better for total hands free operation.

  11. Taboo_ed Says:

    So basically, it’s sending an SMS…(nothing new). What happened to picking up the phone and calling?

  12. dan Says:

    ive had heytell for months…its the best! im pissed when i actually have to text someone that doesnt have heytell

  13. Affiliate Marketing Says:

    I really want to try the HeyTell app. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  14. Essay Writing Says:

    Wow, that’s a nice app.

  15. Marty Says:

    Really nice application. Thank you for such a nice information about the application.