Usually technology progresses and devices go on sale as updated versions of themselves, with better features and upgraded equipment, but one device is turning its back on the future, and looking to the past.
goTenna is a device that connects two mobile phones, over a distance of 50 miles, even if there is no phone reception. goTenna works exactly the same way as walkie-talkies do, by sending messages via old analogue radio channels. You download the app which then allows you to pair your phone with one other.
The goTenna device allows you to:
· Send messages even when there’s no cell service or wifi
· Share locations and points of interest when you’re off-grid
· Create your own network with friends or chat with others nearby
· Send encrypted messages that aren’t stored anywhere
GoTenna are aiming the device at festival goers, hikers, anyone really who could be at risk of losing their phone reception in a rural location, or during a time when the network is overwhelmed, such as New Year’s Eve.
The devices are sold in pairs, as each person has to have one in order for them to work, and early birds can get them at the reduced price of $149.99 a pair. Once on general sale they will be priced at $299.99 a pair.
The goTenna uses the low-frequency part of the radio waves, which means it needs a fairly long antenna, but this also means that these waves travel further, which is why the device is able to pick up signals from 50 miles away.
“That’s just the science of radio waves. We are operating at the limits of physics,” GoTenna co-founder and CEO Daniela Perdomo says adding: “If the Earth was curved a different way, you could get more miles than that.”
The device can only send text messages, and as such, cannot be using for making calls, but each paired device is encrypted between the two people so all communication is private. The goTenna is available for larger groups, which the company state would be beneficial for use in natural disasters, wars or other types of crises. These messages can also provide location information to pinpoint where people are located on an offline map.
And if enough people use the goTenna it can do ‘shout’ broadcasts to any users who are within the 50-mile range, which is a pretty useful and potentially lifesaving device to have with you. GoTenna admit that the ‘range’ of the device will vary on the weather conditions, but in the right environment users should expect up to 50 miles, but the device has to be within 20 feet of the phone which is running the app to work.
You can pre-order the goTenna now but just to let you know, the device hasn’t yet got regulatory approval, as goTenna state on their website:
“Delivery of goTenna is dependent on FCC approval. At this very moment, goTenna is undergoing FCC testing and we expect to complete this process in a couple of weeks.”