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Kim's column

Walkie-talkie voice chat is coming – back

Coming this fall, the newest Apple Watch and WatchOS will feature 35-year-old technology – and an entire generation will believe that it’s something new.

Everyone knows that short, quick phone calls are a thing of the past. Today, we text. But texting’s big shortfall is its inability to convey the sender’s emotion. A quick text can appear rude or impolite.

In the early 1990s, a cellular company called Nextel produced phones that allowed quick and instant “walkie-talkie” type messages with other Nextel users. I’m sure you can remember the chirp of those little yellow phones transmitting a voice message.

The advantage of these walkie-talkie phones was the actual voice. Hearing the sender’s tone of voice, you more easily interpreted their mood and meaning. But Nextel was absorbed by Sprint and the feature disappeared.

Which leads us back to the Apple Watch that’s due this fall. The new Watch brings back this old “walkie-talkie” feature.

And texting just may go the way of the phone call.

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