goTenna lets you send messages without cell service or WiFi

While many of us enjoy the lack of connectivity while hiking or camping, there’s a certain amount of risk associated with going ‘off the grid.’ Namely, not being able to contact anyone if something goes wrong. goTenna is hoping to cater to people who regularly find themselves without service with a newly launched device that allows you to send messages from your iOS or Android phone when you have no mobile connectivity.

Tha goTenna pairs wirelessly with your phone, letting you send location or text messages to other goTenna devices up to 50 miles away. All you have to do is pair your phone and the goTenna via Bluetooth and then use the companion app to share your location or send a text. Your message will be sent via low-frequency radio waves to the intended accessory, and the receiving goTenna will then send it to its paired smartphone. Messages feature end-to-end encryption and it can receive and store messages even when not paired with your phone, either; it’ll just push them to your phone the next time you connect.

Of course, the biggest issue here is that you need a second goTenna for this to work. It’s basically a walkie-talkie system that sends messages and location from your phone. However, the goTenna team foresee this system being used during natural disasters or live events, where cell service or WiFi may not be available. If you and your friends have these, you can keep in contact even with your phones on airplane mode.

The company is now taking pre-orders for the goTenna, which will be sold in pairs for $150. Pre-orders will be shipped in the fall but you’ll have to pay up front (goTenna is trying to raise some cash for manufacturing). The upside is that paying now means you escape the $300 price tag it will cost at launch.