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Onyx is the Walkie-Talkie of the Future

A web-enabled walkie talkie from San Francisco-based startup Orion Labs just might make tap-to-talk communication cool again. The device, called the Onyx, connects via Bluetooth to an Android or iOS device running the Orion app.

Orion bills the Onyx as safer than fussing with a phone, and ideal for groups of friends, meeting organizers and small- to medium-sized businesses.

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The button is a bit large for a lapel pin, but it's more attractive and less obtrusive than an old Nextel phone. Better yet, it can keep its users in constant communication, one on one or as a group, from any distance, over the internet via Wi-Fi or a 3G or better cell signal.

This tech isn't cheap though -- a pair of Onyx communicators will run you a steep $250. If you're a driver, cyclist or just a pedestrian that tends to chat while crossing the street, you'd probably be fine with a set of microphone-equipped earbuds. 

The Onyx is available for pre-order now, and the devices are expected to ship in October, according to Orion.