If there is one thing you keep looking at now and then, it is your phone. We have this insatiable thirst to know what’s going on with our contacts, social media buzz and news updates on a very constant basis. That is why some of us would avoid travel to the countrysides that have no cellular reception, as it means you cannot continue using your smartphone to chat, be on social media and touch base with your contacts.
When you are off the grid (areas without cellular reception or Wi-Fi Internet access) you cannot make/receive calls or send/receive SMS. Neither can you connect to the Internet.
However, your phone’s Bluetooth connectivity functions regardless of the cellular reception. If you have enough technical skills combined with some simple hacks, you can establish phone-to-phone communications. Given the two phones are within the Bluetooth range of each other, but your communication will be limited to just text-based communication.
There is a hardware startup company based in Bozeman, MT called Beartooth. This startup has developed an innovative hardware that lets you send/receive text, make/receive voice calls and find your friends position on offline maps using just a Bluetooth connection. This device is called Beartooth after the startup.
So you can maintain communications with your friends within the Bluetooth range whether you are in the backcountry, or a road trip, in congested cellular zones like conferences, sports event or music festivals; mobile reception notwithstanding.
Users will be able to establish a Beartooth-to-Beartooth connection with their friends, family and colleagues in remote areas. Beartooth is a small device that can be discreetly tucked away inside your pocket or a bag pack. Smartphones will be able to communicate with each other over the Beartooth network (smartphone A via Beartooth to smartphone B), and continue to call, text and even locate your friends on offline maps.
You will continue using your smartphone off the grid just like you would with cellular service or Wi-Fi Internet connection. Beartooth technology can also pinpoint landmarks, assist in navigation using professional-grade offline maps, send out SOS signals and locate groups and individuals. Other features are as follows:
Individual and group push-to-talk voice that allows you to stay connected off the grid for up to two miles.
Individual and group text messaging with message delivery reports.
Automatic or on-demand GPS location sharing to locate friends on maps.
Offline maps with high-quality 24k topographic and street maps, powered by ArcGIS.
A battery backup that will keep Beartooth powered for an entire day usage as well as recharge your smartphone.
Starting Feb 22, Beartooth will be available for pre-orders in two-packs for only $249 for a limited 30-day pre-order campaign period. The same will go for $499 after the campaign period.
If you are thinking, “Why substitute the traditional handheld radio for this new device?” Well, the regular radio is cumbersome and difficult to use, but this device also enables you to use a tool you are already accustomed to; your smartphone. So you never have to deal with worrying about getting the communication channels settings right, following the radio protocols and getting the button sequences right.
With Beartooth, you use the already-too-familiar smartphone. You only need to download the app, pair the device, and you are good to go.
“Beartooth was born in Bozeman on a powder day at the legendary Bridger Bowl Ski Area. My ski partner, company co-founder Kevin Ames and I were separated with no cell service. After several hours we finally re-connected and immediately started working on a solution,” said Michel Monaghan, CEO and co-founder of Beartooth.
“Kevin is former smokejumper and radio communications operator who spent his career working in environments with no cellular or Wi-Fi service. It was natural to enable the smartphone carried daily in our pocket to communicate off-grid.”
*62x101x12mm or 2.43×3.98×0.49in
*130g or 4.5oz
*3000mAh Li-ion battery
*USB Type-C charge port
*Sub 1GHz license free bands
*Works with Android and iOS phones.
Beartooth shipment to US customers will begin at the end of 2016. However, currently, it is available for pre-orders at a campaign price of $249, which is half of the MSRP. You can place your orders at the www.beartooth.com website. Previously, this startup raised $3 million in funding.