Smartphones can connect two people anywhere in the world, assuming both of them have service. Stumbling into an immensely large crowd of people all trying to use their phones at the same time or wandering into a patch of land that a carrier doesn't cover can instantly sever someone's connection to the outside world. This is typically inconvenient, but sometimes it can be life-threatening. That's why goTenna isn't just a potentially cool piece of upcoming tech, it may end up being a necessary one. And considering the flood of trendy Bluetooth-connected devices that mainly just pamper us in creative new ways, this is the kind of innovation I'm happy to see.

goTenna is, or will be, a portable antenna that connects to a phone using Bluetooth low energy. As long as the device remains within 20 feet of the handset, it will be able to shoot messages out to another goTenna paired to someone else. The two will effectively serve as beacons communicating via low frequency radio signals, so people can continue to message each other or share their GPS location even after their cell service has failed them. Communication will be encrypted end-to-end, and messages can self-destruct.

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The goTenna will only work when both users are within range of one another, and that range depends on a number of factors. Someone standing at a high elevation could, under ideal conditions, send messages to someone over 50 miles away. Under normal circumstances, expect to be within a mile or two of someone instead.

Key app features

  • Send & receive text messages for free
  • Share locations on detailed offline maps
  • Instantaneous transmission within range
  • Automatic message retry & delivery confirmation
  • Individual & group messaging
  • "Shout" broadcasts to anyone within range
  • Proximal friend map & location pinging
  • Emergency chat
  • End-to-end encryption (RSA-1024) & self-destructing messages
  • Compatible with iOS & Android

Key hardware specs

  • Antenna
  • 2-watt radio
  • Flash memory good for 1000’s of messages
  • Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery
  • Micro-USB connector
  • BluetoothLE data interface
  • Status indicator lights
  • Water-resistant
  • Dust-tight

As cool as goTenna sounds, it won't come cheap. A set of two will retail for $299.99 when the product goes on sale at the end of this year. People can place pre-orders now at 50% of that price, but $149.99 is still a steep price for a piece of tech that has yet to be released.

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To claim one regardless, hit up the link below.

goTenna pre-order