While most of our focus on Sprint’s ongoing network rearrangement has been with its construction of a new LTE system, that’s only one portion of what the carrier’s been up to. Sprint’s been maintaining the old Nextel iDEN network for years now, and last year finally started transitioning push-to-talk over to the CDMA-based Direct Connect. We’ve seen Sprint release a few phones last year supporting Direct Connect, but they’ve only made up a fraction of what the carrier has available. It now looks like we’re about to see a new wave of users gain access to Direct Connect, as a Sprint leak reveals plans to deliver the service to other phones via the Direct Connect Now app.
So far, phones getting access to Direct Connect had to be specially designed with PTT-over-CDMA in mind. With this new Direct Connect Now app, that restriction goes right out the window, and Sprint will be able to bring Direct Connect to existing phones by just installing an app. Users will have access to the features of normal Direct Connect phones, including group calls, and compatibility with users still on the old Nextel network for one-to-one calls.
Samsung’s Transform Ultra will apparently be the first handset to get the Direct Connect Now app, but Sprint will be making it available to additional phones in time. While we’re only hearing about plans for Android phones, there’s technically little in the way stopping development of similar apps for other smartphone platforms.