Emulate walkie-talkie (e.g. Zello) style communication

Delta chat is good for store-and-forward chat messaging. With the addition of two small features, it should be possible for Delta chat to replace apps like Zello (for which there is no current good open source replacement that I’m aware of) which allow more real-time communication without using streaming like WebRTC does. This would allow faster communication over links that aren’t quite good enough to do streaming (e.g. packet loss too high).

My suggestion of the two features is:

  1. make a setting that allows auto-playing of audio messages in the current chat window. In other words, if a chat window is open and a check box has been selected, all incoming audio messages are played as soon as they arrive without any user interaction required.
  2. allow hardware buttons to be used as push-to-talk buttons to record audio messages in the currently open chat window. Some phones and bluetooth hardware have dedicated push-to-talk buttons which apps like Zello take advantage of.

Both of these features are conceptually simple and probably not very hard to implement. However, it would allow near real time walkie-talkie type communication just using the existing infrastructure already in Delta chat.

Zello is great for this kind of communication but has a few big downsides. 1. Message delivery does not seem 100%, 2. the app and the servers it relies on are closed source and controlled by a single commercial entity, and 3. message quality starts to become poor over very bad Internet connections.

I regularly communicate in environments that have very poor and inconsistent Internet access. Delta chat is nice for this setting as the messages will eventually get through and when they do the audio quality will not be degraded as with streaming audio. However, as minimal as it sounds it really does improve communication efficiency a lot in longer conversations to just be able to push-to-talk and then wait for a response.