Phone calls are great for commmunicating with one person at a time, but if you want to chat to groups of people you’re actually mostly limited to using apps like Skype or Hangouts. But now there’s a new gadget which gives you the group chat power of a walkie-talkie, with the convenience of a Star Trek Communicator. The new Onyx device pairs with your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, and gives you a one touch voice chat feature, which can instantly connect you with a bunch of people simultaneously no matter where they are in the world. The product uses the phone’s Internet connection to transmit your voice chat to a central server, which then broadcasts it to everyone who is currently selected as part of the chat group. It’s clever, and the neat trick is you don’t have to do anything except just hit a button to transmit. No need to take your phone out of your bag or pocket.
The communicator uses a special app called OnBeep to manage the groups and settings of the system, and gives complete control over security and privacy etc. The system is totally hands-free but if you need more discreet communication then it connects to your headphones as well. You can also see the exact position of your contacts and their status on the app. Onyx is available for pre-order via OnBeep for $99.