Internal Sprint documentation has confirmed the forthcoming launch of a new Android app for Sprint customers that will enable select Android phones to use Sprint DirectConnect without the need for the embedded hardware that was previously required for the service to work and was the biggest barrier to carrier adoption.
The app, called Sprint DirectConnect Now will enable all of the current features found on Sprint DirectConnect service without the need for dedicated hardware, plus the possibility to enable the long-promised Push-to-X features that never materialized on the previous generation of the platform.
Currently, the app and related service is slated to launch first on the Samsung Transform Ultra next month, along with the long-awaited rollout of International DirectConnect service over CDMA.
PhoneNews.com interviewed Qualcomm General Manager of QChat Visha Gupta last September regarding the changes to QChat and the DirectConnect Now Android app is the direct result of the latest changes to the platform which frees it from the previous hardware requirements that were necessary with the version that was shelved in 2009 and turns QChat into a fully functioning push to talk service without the need to develop customized hardware around it, which was the biggest reason manufacturers were hesitant to include support into devices such as smartphones, due to the added expense and cost for integration with the previous version.
Another key element to this version of DirectConnect is that the Android app is that it can be ported easily to other Android devices in Sprint’s lineup and QChat itself is now platform agnostic, meaning that it can be deployed to other smartphone platforms such as BlackBerry, Windows Phone and even iOS, provided carriers that have rolled out QChat show enough interest in providing the service as an app in place of launching dedicated devices.
What is currently unknown is how Sprint will market the app and service, as Sprint DirectConnect phones or the service are not currently promoted by the carrier and is instead marketing the iPhone and unlimited data plans. More specific information is expected in the coming weeks.