We’ve all been in a situation where we need to communicate but have no cellular coverage. Often it’s a matter of being in a foreign, remote, or highly obstructed area. Occasionally, it means being in a large crowd like at a festival. But in the worst of cases, it means being in a natural disaster-like scenario where local infrastructure is down. It’s one thing to be without connectivity when you just need to post that selfie of yourself and your favorite actor or musician. It’s a much darker moment when you need a lifeline to the outside world.
GoTenna is a new hardware connectivity device that turns your smartphone into a long-range text-based walkie talkie without any need for an external cell tower. It may sound trivial at first blush, but it’s anything but. Make no mistake about it, this will be a big deal with disaster relief organizations, outdoor enthusiasts, end-of-world preppers, and, likely, mainstream consumers.
With the power of Bluetooth Low Energy, a pair of goTenna devices, as well as the goTenna app itself is all you need to be able to let other people know where you are exactly. It can also share your GPS location with others, just in case there’s a possibility you get lost along the trail or the mountain. The catch is that goTenna will work if your phone is within 20 feet of the device, that’s why you need another one. As long as the two goTenna’s can talk to each other, then you’re in business.
The other thing is that the people who can receive and send your messages need to have their own goTEnna as well, and they need to be within range, which is up to 50.5 miles as per their instruction. They also recommend that to strengthen and increase the range of connection, you can go to higher ground or attach it outside your backpack and not inside. They have an interactive module on their website so you can see how far those 50 miles gets you.
The device is still not available in the retail market, but you can already pre-order it on their website for $149.99, which is 50% off the retail price. They estimate shipping to begin by this fall.