Since their introduction cell phones have become an integral part of our day to day life. Modern smart phones are incredible devices capable of performing a myriad of tasks beyond voice communication. The downside is what happens when you venture to an area with no cell phone service. Suddenly your ability to communicate comes to a screeching halt. One possible solution is a small device called goTenna which allows you to stay in touch via text, even when there is no cell phone service or Wi-Fi.
What is goTenna? It’s a small electronic device which pairs via Bluetooth LE to your iOS or Android smart phone. Then using their free app you can send text messages or share your location. Basically your smartphone sends a message via Bluetooth to the goTenna which in turn shoots it out similar to a MURs radio at 151-154 MHz. Keep in mind, the person you are texting must also have a goTenna. The recipient’s goTenna unit receives your message and sends it via Bluetooth to their smartphone. Messages can be sent privately to individuals/groups or publically to groups of goTenna users. Private messages sent over goTenna are end-to-end encrypted with 384-bit elliptic curve public-private key ciphering. So you can text privately.
In addition to text messages you can also share your location using your phone’s GPS. The goTenna app allows detailed maps to be downloaded and used offline. These allow you to share your location with another goTenna user or a group.
The big question most will have is how far will it work? Keeping in mind this unit is similar to a MURs radio, range will vary depending on if the receiving unit is within your Line of Sight. If they are, the range might be as much as 8 miles. If you are in dense forest this might drop to 4 miles and if you are in a built up urban area it might only be around one mile. It all depends upon your geography. Stand-by time of the unit is approximately 24 hours. As it operates via Bluetooth it can even be used with Ipads or Android tablets. An interesting concept, it can be used to stay in touch in a wide variety of situations. Its biggest drawback is simply its relatively short range. Price is $199 for two units. For more information visit www.goTenna.com