updated 02:25 pm EDT, Wed March 16, 2011
Sprint outlines CDMA push-to-talk for fall
Sprint further outlined its plans to hasten the end of IDEN by detailing a roll-out for push-to-talk on CDMA. Devices on its new Direct Connect label will have both more bandwidth for data as well as better coverage and range, tripling to about three square miles. Kyocera and Motorola will have the first phones, including a rugged clamshell and an Android QWERTY device, though which would provide which wasn't mentioned.
The switch away from IDEN would also allow for as many as 200 people on a single push-to-talk call, the ability to flag whether or not a person is available, the option of talking to more traditional land radios, and international roaming.
Service should start in the fall and will see both the world reach and more devices arrive sometime in 2012, including non-phone hardware. Existing push-to-talk hardware should be interoperable, Sprint said. IDEN will eventually bow out in 2013.
IDEN has been the staple of push-to-talk phones in North America for years but has increasingly become a problem for carriers, Sprint most of all. Its lack of support has meant getting a small, often feature-limited mix of devices at a time when many are demanding Android or another smartphone-class OS. It has also been expensive to maintain and would be difficult to mesh with WiMAX or any other fast 4G technology.