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GoTenna Lets You Text When There’s No Signal

Chat symbol over white backgroundAnyone who sends texts (so, that’s pretty much everyone) knows that sending messages in big crowds or remote places is often a lot easier said than done.

A new startup aims to fix this problem with goTenna, a device that will allow people to send text messages without Wi-Fi or cell signal.

The device relies on low-energy bluetooth signals and a companion app to relay messages between people who have goTenna paired to their smartphones. It will allow users, who would be otherwise unable to communicate via phone, to send and receive messages from friends from up to 50 miles away.

Daniela Perdomo, CEO of the Brooklyn-based goTenna, says the idea for the device came during Hurricane Sandy, when downed cell towers hampered communication. But she says goTenna has applications well beyond disasters and emergencies, such as traveling abroad or trying to text friends during musical festivals.

Though goTenna boasts a maximum range of up to 50 miles, it varies significantly based on your location and elevation. The range in an urban environment will only be a couple of miles, for example, while hiking in the mountains could provide the full 50-mile range.

The app also has built-in emergency communication features like the ability to “shout” messages to anyone within range. All messages sent with goTenna are end-to-end encrypted, self-destructing and not stored on a central server to enable “off-the-grid” communications.

The device charges via USB and will last about 30 hours when continuously on or for three days with intermittent use. A pair of goTennas will eventually retail for $299.99, though you can purchase a set for $149.99 during the preorder period.

(Image Source: iCLIPART)