Motorola releases a walkie-talkie and cellphone hybrid to help first responders

In emergencies, smartphones aren’t always able to live up to their potential, (for instance, when a hurricane or tornado knocks down cell towers, or if a forest fire disrupts the communication infrastructure in remote areas).

For reasons like these, first responders rely on land mobile radios (LMR), or walkie-talkies, as they’re most commonly known. LMR have a range of a few miles and are needed in order to coordinate everything from routine information requests to disaster response.

The biggest global player in LMR, Motorola, has released what could be coined the most advanced walkie-talkie ever.

Called the APX Next, this LMR features a touchscreen, as well as a push-to-talk button its side. Motorola developed the design based on 2,000 hours of interviews and testing with more than 50 emergency services agencies, including SWAT teams and detectives.

It features a voice-recognition system that can operate in extremely loud environments. As well as artificial intelligence software, named ViQi, that can look up 95 of the most common things a police officer or firefighter would call into dispatch for – like driver’s license or license plate information – without any human operator on the other end of the line. The APX Next artificial intelligence software also works to free up the user’s hands as much as possible, ensuring that someone is as safe and capable as possible during an emergency.

Essentially, this device encapsulates modern technological trends, but applies them to a highly specialized environment where they otherwise wouldn’t make sense.

The APX Next is both a walkie-talkie and a cellphone combined. It features both a high-powered radio chip for land communications and a low-powered 4G/LTE chip for cell-tower data. These two chips work simultaneously.

Four separate microphones are embedded in the device in order to capture voice, with programming designed specifically to cancel out exceptionally loud noises which is especially useful in emergency environments.

More information about this innovative walkie-talkie can be found on Motorola’s website.

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