A digital walkie talkie app has become the top downloaded app as Hurricane Irma threatens Florida and the southern Atlantic seaboard. Zello was the top free download in both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store yesterday, after gaining fame as the top communications tool of the “Cajun Navy” Harvey rescuers in Houston. “Over 1 million people have joined in the last day, with most coming from Puerto Rico and Florida,” Zello CTO Alexey Gavrilov said in a statement. Gavrilov warned users that Zello is not designed for disaster communications though, and will not work without either a WiFi or cellular data link, dispelling online rumors to the contrary. As Texas recovers from Harvey and Florida braces for Irma, other hurricane-related apps dominated the two main app stores. The NOAA weather radar app was the number five free download in Google Play yesterday, with the Hurricane Tracker app taking the store’s number five paid slot. Meanwhile, NOAA Radar Pro and Hurricane Tracker were the top two paid downloads on Apple’s App Store. Zello differs from other messaging or voice apps by allowing the user to hold down a button and broadcast to other users logged into a specific channel – just like a tradition walkie talkie.
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