In the new age of Internet-based crowdfunding with special price offers, where startup teams try to push their product closer and closer to the gate of entry, goTenna's campaign offers a most attractive pitch. No cell towers, no WiFi, no satellites, never mind: to make sure the absence does not mean you are helpless in being able to make a phone call or send text in emergencies or in remote areas, the goTenna may be your solution. The device pairs wirelessly with your smartphone and will run on all Apple devices running iOS7 or above, and on Android running 4.x or above. You pair your smartphone with a goTenna and you communicate with anyone near you who also has a goTenna.
A free app is used to type out text messages or share a location. "Your smartphone will send the message to your goTenna, which will then shoot it out, via long-range radio waves, to the intended goTenna(s). the recipient goTenna sends your message over BTLE [Bluetooth Low-Energy] to the smartphone app it's paired with. All of this happens in a matter of milliseconds."
The goTenna range can go up to 50 miles. Dimensions of a goTenna are roughly 5.8 in x 1 in x 0.5 in or 146.7 mm x 12.7 mm x 0.5 mm. When the device extends, its length increases by 2.2 in or 56 mm. Inside, there is a circuit board, radio chips, custom antenna, and lithium-ion battery that can be recharged with microUSB cable. The battery will last through two to three days of normal usage but if it is on 24/7, it will last 30 hours or so. Messages are encrypted.
Two key movers behind Brooklyn-based goTenna are co-founders Daniela Perdomo, CEO, and her brother, Jorge, who is CTO. The idea for goTenna came during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, when a number of cell towers were downed and Internet access was not available; people were unable to communicate when they needed to most.
CEO Perdomo blogged Thursday, "Why is it that we carry around smartphones with us all the time, but they can't enable communication unless central connectivity is available (or affordable)? And what would it take to make these amazing little computers we all have on us all the time connect directly with each other, without ever having to connect into centralized infrastructure?"
She said, "goTenna fills the gap between walkie talkies and sat phones" according to Crowdfund Insider. You cannot use your goTenna to communicate with people who do not also have a goTenna; they emit a unique radio-frequency intended for other goTennas. The campaign is offering the device, which ships this fall, as a pair, for $149.99. To start they are shipping to all addresses in the United States, Canada, and their territories. There are no fees or charges associated with using goTenna once you own it.
Among the FAQ list is the question, "Is goTenna FCC-licensed?" The answer they provide is, "Delivery of goTenna is dependent on FCC approval. At this very moment, goTenna is undergoing FCC testing and we expect to complete this process in a couple of weeks."