Areas devoid of wireless service, or events where too many users overload the network, could become less of a connectivity issue with the recent launch of the Beartooth. Working on a sub 1 GHz bandwidth, the device is claimed to turn your smartphone into an off-grid network that enables users to talk, text and find their friends on maps where cellular service and Wi-Fi connections are non-existent.
The Beartooth device connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, then essentially acts as an antenna to establish a network with a two-mile radius. At 62 x 101 x 12 mm (2.43 x 3.98 x 0.49 in) and weighing only 130 g (4.5 oz), it's small and light enough to fit into your pocket or pack.
Its designers say that a graphical user interface familiar to most smartphone users, along with the absence of confusing controls and settings found on typical handheld radios, make the Beartooth easy to set up and use right away. Users just download the iOS or Android app, pair the device, and the network is up and running.
Once established, the network allows for group or individual push-to-talk voice, text messaging with confirmation notices, and automatic or on-demand GPS location sharing via topographic and street maps.
The Beartooth device is powered by a rechargeable 3,000-mAh lithium-ion battery that reportedly lasts up to four days on a single charge with normal text usage, and can charge your smartphone at the same time. No information was available for how long it takes to recharge the device.
Its makers are taking pre-orders for a two-pack set at a price of US$249. That's good for the next 30 days, and half of the anticipated MSRP.
In 2014, goTenna launched a similar device, with a claimed network radius of up to 50 miles (80 km).
Check out the video below for more details on how the Beartooth device works.
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