Walmart giving 740,000 workers new Samsung phones with launch of app

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(AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

(NEXSTAR) — Saying the right tools “can be the difference between fast and frustrating,” Walmart is unveiling an app for its store workers’ phones that allows them to more easily do a variety of tasks.

The retail behemoth unveiled Me@Walmart, a new app built in-house that’s meant to simplify daily tasks, including digitally clocking into work, locating merchandise and answering customers’ questions. It also offers a push-to-talk feature so workers can directly communicate with colleagues.

As part of the launch, Walmart says it plans to offer more than 740,000 store workers a new Samsung smartphone for free by year-end. That’s nearly 50% of its U.S. workforce, according to Drew Holler, senior vice president of people operations.

“We want to ensure associates have a sleek, new device to use the app, so we’re giving them one,” Walmart said, adding that until now employees have shared company devices.

Employees will be able to access the app’s features only during work hours, but they can use their new phones as their own personal devices “with all the features and privacy they’re used to.”

The company says it will not have access to any of the employees’ personal data.

The moves come as Walmart and others are trying to free up store workers from menial tasks to better serve customers.

“As retail continues to evolve  and quickly  it’s more critical than ever to equip our people with the tools and technology they need for success,” the company said. “Doing so makes work easier and more enjoyable.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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