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HeyTell Hopes SXSW Will Become One Big Walkie-Talkie Party

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About a month ago, we covered HeyTell, an iPhone/Android app that made me feel like a kid again. Why did it make me feel like a kid? Because it turns your iPhone into a walkie talkie. Yeah. Awesome.

But the app is also a serious business. Created by the husband-and-wife team, Steven Hugg and Jen Harvey, they’ve managed to bring in revenues from day one thanks to a combination in in-app advertising and purchases (add-ons, like voice modifiers). And while a month ago, they were going strong with 3 million registered users, things have picked up quite a bit since then: they’re now past 4 million users.

While everyone is talking about group texting apps being poised to explode at SXSW, HeyTell is the type of fun app that could sneak up as well. And the service is preparing for that possibility with a fun new feature: public relays.

The feature, which is included in the just-released 2.2 iPhone app update, allows you to HeyTell message any other users within your immediate proximity. In other words, it’s location-based random voice chat. But since none of the chats are one-on-one, it could happen with thousands of people at a place like SXSW where everyone will be gathered close to one another.

Imagine hitting the talk button and that message being immediately received by every other users around you. That’s the idea.

Your HeyTell privacy settings dictate who can message you with this feature. If you have your settings on “Low”, you can get messages from anyone, even strangers. If you have the settings on “Medium”, you’ll only hear messages from friends and friends of friends nearby. And if you have your settings on “High”, only your friends will still be able to reach you this way.

The SXSW relay isn’t live just yet, but HeyTell will turn it on in time for the conference. And then we can all get the “party in room 1135!” message together. See you there.

You can find HeyTell in the App Store here. Or search for it in the Android Market.

[photo: flickr/k0a1a.net]