Samsung unveils new smartphone with Microsoft Teams walkie-talkie feature

The new Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro with a programmable button that supports Microsoft Teams’ new walkie-talkie function. (Microsoft Photo)

Microsoft and Samsung took their partnership to the next level with a new smartphone that features a built-in Teams walkie-talkie capability.

The new Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro is a thin, durable phone designed for workers in industries like retail, manufacturing, healthcare and logistics. A pair of programmable buttons allow users to set up a push-to-talk function, bypassing the home screen and need to boot up apps, via the new Microsoft Teams walkie-talkie feature.

Microsoft foreshadowed the move last week, when it unveiled the Teams walkie-talkie feature as part of a series of new tools for “firstline” workers — the billions of people who work in retail stores, healthcare facilities and other customer-facing roles. The goal, Microsoft says, is to reduce the number of devices workers have to carry around.

In August, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made a surprise appearance at Samsung’s Galaxy’s Note10 event to announce the two companies struck up a partnership to bring together their respective products and services. The XCover Pro-Teams integration follows that alliance, which began with tie-ins between the Note10 and Microsoft services such as Outlook and Windows 10.

“The powerful combination of Microsoft Teams and the new Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro builds on this partnership and will provide firstline workers everywhere with the technology they need to be more collaborative, productive and secure,” Nadella said in a statement.

The device also comes with a built-in point-of-scale scanner for retail workers. And the two programmable buttons allow users to pin other complex actions, beyond Teams’ walkie-talkie feature, turning on a flashlight or launching a CRM app. The phone features a long-lasting battery that can be swapped out to make sure workers’ phones remain charged.

Samsung didn’t say when the new device will be released. Microsoft said the Teams walkie-talkie feature will be available in private preview “in the first half of this year.”

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