Recently, GearJunkie reported on GoTenna, a product that lets you text with cell phones while out of service range.
Yesterday we learned of a new company, Beartooth Radio, that claims its new product effectively turns a cell phone into a radio for use off the grid.
Using the Beartooth Radio, you can place calls to other Beartooth users without the need of cell phone towers. Users can also communicate on an open channel much like a two-way radio.
The radio device looks like a cell phone case with an antenna. The company claims it has a range similar to walkie-talkies — a few miles — that varies according to terrain.
The company was co-founded by businessman Michael Monaghan and Kevin Ames, a former smokejumper and telecommunications expert who designed and implemented ad-hoc communication systems supporting backcountry firefighters.
Backup battery, a radio, and the needed software are housed in the aircraft aluminum Beartooth case. The company will offer models for both Android and iOS.
The device will allow voice and text communication and geo-location, helping you track other users and your own location.
Beartooth uses both VHF and UHF signals to transmit and receive to take advantage of the strengths of both signal types.
Price and availability are not yet set, but Monaghan said he expects production to begin in 2015. You can sign up for alerts about availability at Beartooth.com.