Say you’re off camping, hiking or skiing and are without any cell phone signal.
Well, there’s a device available that will ensure you’re not completely off the grid. The GoTenna makes a direct radio connection to other GoTennas as far as up to four miles away,allowing users to send text messages and share their GPS location with family and friends, even in rather remote locations. They’re currently being sold in $200 pairs, often being clipped onto jackets or backpacks during activities.
The GoTennas connect via Bluetooth to Android smartphones and iPhone, along with an app, and allow the app to send and receive data when the antenna is extended from six to eight inches. Its rechargeable battery lasts nearly 24 hours, the equivalent of being able to send 700 text messages.
A Wall Street Journal reporter who tested the GoTenna around San Francisco and some outskirts of California found mixed results. The reporter found the device’s radio tech to have some range limitations in rocky or rough terrain, but then had to sort of reassess why people would use it.
It’s not meant to repair patchy cell service. It’s merely meant to offer users a way to text or share their location in rather remote areas.
Working in pairs, the device also touts a Shout mode, which allows users to be heard by other GoTennas that happen to be listening at the time.