Noah J Nelson on Friday, Jul. 18th
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy designer Daniela Perdomo had a vision for a device that would allow for people to text in other in the wake of a disaster. What she wound up with might just be the next hot smartphone accessory. Wired Design has the scoop:
GoTenna is part disaster relief, part slick smartphone accessory that Perdomo created with the help of Brooklyn-based design firm Pensa (before goTenna, Perdomo worked at a string of New York-based software startups). It’s a five-inch aluminum and nylon device that pairs with a fairly basic iPhone or Android messaging app. When users lose service, rather than scurry around in search of bars, they can instead open that app to text other goTenna users. Texts first get sent to the native goTenna device over Bluetooth LE, where—thanks to the circuit board, radio chips, and antennae hidden within—the gadget piggybacks onto radio frequencies to transmit an analog version of the message to the receiving user.
GoTenna is being marketed not just as a disaster relief device, but as a tool that can be used on camping trips, at busy festivals, and even to keep law enforcement off your back. These points are made in a rather ham-handed fashion in the promotional video for the device (seriously, it’s terrible) but the value proposition is solid. GoTenna is currently being offered for pre-order in pairs: $150 for two of the antennas, but they don’t need to be paired up in order to get a user on the adhoc network. The retail price target is $300 for two, which puts the device firmly into the price range of the REI shoppers, Coachella ticket buyers, and people who need to stay off the grid they are marketing to.