Blip.me is a fun and free way to turn your Android or iOS device into a virtual walkie-talkie. You can send voice messages with it, even to people who don’t have an Android or iPhone, and even to people that don’t have the app.
It also allows you to send voice messages using your data plan, rather than your texting plan, and it takes up hardly any space on your Smartphone’s internal memory.
Blip.me is a two part system that lets you send and get voice messages in the same way you would via a walkie-talkie system, but over your Smartphone’s data network instead of the standard voice minutes.
Part one is the send interface, and part two is the receiving interface. Both are very similar, but they do work in very different ways. Put them together and you’ve got a nice innovation in instant messaging that could potentially save you a lot of headaches and eye-strain. It can also save you from nit-picky English Lit majors who are your friends but just can’t stop correcting your texts. I speak from experience!
Setup and sign up for blip.me is very easy and painless. Just download the app, install it, and go through a short registration that asks for your name and already has your phone number. Then, they send you a text message with your access code and you’re all set. Using blip.me is just as easy and simple as the setup process. You have the option to send the app via sms to anyone you’d like, or you can jump right in and start using it to send voice messages to anyone on your contacts list.
Once you choose a contact, there’s a very large button at the bottom of the screen that says “Hold and Speak” and it works just like that. As if you had a walkie-talkie in your hand. When you press the button, (the PTT or push to talk button), a cute, old-style Marconi microphone image swoops onto the screen and stays there as long as the button is held, to let you know that recording is in process. Hold the button down, speak your message, and let go. The message is automatically sent to the contact or contacts you chose. That’s pretty quick and easy, if I do say so.
I wanted to see what it was like from the receiving end so I sent myself a message using the blip.me app. It arrived almost instantly, and showed in my blip.me messaging window with a little black arrow indicating that it was a voice message instead of text. Pressing the ‘play’ arrow starts the message and that’s all there is to it. Fast, simple, effective. These are the marks of a good app and blip.me has them all. There are always new updates coming out, as well, offering new features and options.
But, you ask, why would anyone want to use this app? Well, to begin with, there are lots of times when I want to send a message by voice instead of text. Either because text can’t convey subtle meanings, or because I just want someone to hear my voice. Conversely, it’s always nice to hear someone’s voice instead of getting a text from them. Emotions often do not come through well in text. Additionally, looking at the current generation of Smartphone users, it has to be said that spelling and grammar, not to mention punctuation, are often thrown to the wind and you wind up getting messages that can be tough to decipher, written in “text-speak”. With blip.me, you don’t have that issue, because you can hear your friend’s words and you won’t have to guess what they meant to type. Now, it certainly is possible to call your friend and leave a message via voicemail, so the question is, why is blip.me better or different than that? First, blip.me will allow you to send longer messages than some voicemail boxes. Very few things can be as frustrating as being cut off by a voicemail box right in the middle of leaving your message. Second, the “blip”, as these voice messages are commonly called, will show up on their phone as a message immediately, instead of waiting for them to check their voicemail. They don’t have to call their voicemail box and enter their passcode and wade through all the voice prompts and other messages to get yours, and you don’t have to sit through 20 rings and the annoying message they have on their voicemail either. It’s a time saver, as well as removing many annoyances. Finally, using your Smartphone as a walkie-talkie is, for lack of a better term, just plain fun!
Since it is totally free to download, install and use, there’s no reason not to give it a try. Who knows, maybe blips are the next big thing and will replace texting in situations where it’s possible. Granted, the kids in school will still have to hide their phone under the desk to send text messages during class (not recommended, but we know it happens) but for other situations it will be easier. In the car, for example, you may want to send a message but texting and driving has been said by some experts to be even more dangerous than drinking and driving. Whether that is true or not, it sure is a lot easier to send a blip from your Bluetooth earpiece while driving than it is to type a message on your touch screen, and that has to be worth something.
So, give it a shot. The app has a very small footprint of around 4 MB, which is a boon since it has to be run from the phone instead of your SD card or other external storage device. For those of us that have little in the way of internal memory, this is a great thing. So get out there, get blipping, and you may find yourself saying ‘blip me!’ at social functions instead of ‘text me’. I would love to hear about your own experiences with blip.me if you care to comment here.
Until next time, my friends!