Firechat for iOS and Android lets you message 'off-the-grid'

FirechatAs the mobile messaging space continues to grow with Vine releasing a messaging option with their app yesterday, it becomes increasingly important for app developers to find a niche that differentiates them from the others. Enter FireChat from Open Garden, which has been dubbed by its developer as an "off-the-grid" messenger.

FireChat has been available for iOS for some time now and is now available on the Android platform. The app enables communication without the need for a network connection, or even cellular coverage. Unfortunately, iPhone and Android users cannot speak to each other while off-the-grid, as the two mesh networks are not currently compatible.

You can download the app directly on your iOS or Android device through its respective app store or by using the following links

Android iOS
Price Free Free
Requirements Android 2.2 or greater iOS 7.0 or greater

FireChat takes advantage of mesh networking technology, which allows mobile devices to connect peer-to-peer via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi direct, Internet connections be damned. While FireChat was able to take advantage of Apple’s Multi-Peer Connectivity Framework for the iOS version of the app, no such framework currently exists for Android, so they built one themselves.

FireChat has two main conversation modes: "Nearby" mode, which is for private conversations with those close-by, and "Everyone" mode, which functions like a global ICQ chatroom (with everything that implies). The effective range for offline "Nearby" conversations is around 30 feet, which will expand as more users adopt the app. 

Still, FireChat is at the very least a unique app, and one that could provide significant utility in emergency situations where cellular connectivity can be spotty. Give the app a try and let us know if you prefer your conversations on or off the grid.

source - TechCrunch

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