Montana-based startup Beartooth is now taking pre-orders for a device which will allow users to text, call, and use maps without a cell signal or WiFi connection. This could come in handy in areas either without a cell connection (such as remote locations), or places with lots of traffic on the network (such as a concert).
The small device (about the size of a deck of cards) will also include a USB port, so users can charge from the device (if they have extra juice from the 3,000mAh Li-ion battery). It is important to note that communication is only possible between other users with the device; it can’t turn an iPhone into a satellite phone. Also, users have to be in range (usually around two miles, but that varies based on terrain and weather).
In this way, it’s most easily compared to a walkie-talkie. However, unlike a walkie-talkie, users get the familiar interface of a smartphone, as well as the texting and mapping features. The Beartooth app on the connected smartphone can download maps, for use offline.
Initial pre-order prices are $249 for two units (with an expected ship date of later in 2016); prices will go up after the first 30 days to $399 for two units.
Read more about the Beartooth device: