Open Garden on Thursday unveiled a new mobile messaging application for iOS 7 and iOS 7.1 devices that will let iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users keep chatting even when an Internet connection is not available. FireChat “takes advantage of the Multipeer Connectivity Framework in iOS 7 to give people the ability to chat with those around them,” even without a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection present.
“We may think that we depend on the Internet for everything. FireChat proves that it’s not always the case,” Open Garden’s CEO Micha Benoliel said. “People ask me: how does this work without an Internet connection? Thanks to the Multipeer Connectivity Framework introduced in iOS 7, we are now able to deliver a best-in-class peer-to-peer chat experience to anyone with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.”
In addition to instant messages, FireChat also supports photo transfers, with the company saying the app has “no significant impact on battery consumption.”
While the app can be used in areas where an Internet connection is not available, FireChat may have an even more useful purpose, and that’s offering a communication method between users in “scenarios such as disaster recovery and public safety.” However, the app only works for users that are within 30 feet (10 meters) of each other.
FireChat is available as a free app in the App Store, and it works on devices running iOS 7 or later. It’s not clear at this time whether a FireChat for Android application will be available later down the road.
The full press release follows below.
Open Garden releases FireChat App Enabling “Chatting Off the Grid”
New free app allows you to chat with people around you, on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, even when the Internet is not available.
San Francisco, CA March 20, 2014 Open Garden announced today that its newest app, FireChat, is now available on the App Store. The app, available on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, takes advantage of the Multipeer Connectivity Framework in iOS 7 to give people the ability to chat with those around them even when no Internet connection or cellular phone coverage is available.
FireChat demonstrates what’s possible over peertopeer networks. Whether you’re on the subway, watching a big game, at the beach, or at recess, you can now fire up FireChat with a friend or two, find out who else is around and start chatting and sharing pictures.
“We may think that we depend on the Internet for everything. FireChat proves that it’s not always the case,” said Micha Benoliel, Open Garden’s CEO. “People ask me: how does this work without an Internet connection? Thanks to the Multipeer Connectivity Framework introduced in iOS 7, we are now able to deliver a best-in-class peer-to-peer chat experience to anyone with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.”
FireChat enables communication for scenarios such as disaster recovery and public safety. FireChat is also well suited for any situation where you don’t have reliable connectivity including schools and colleges, public transportation, stadiums, clubs, concerts, conferences, conventions, construction sites or outdoor festivals.
The FireChat App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at http://www.AppStore.com.
FireChat features and capabilities:
• Instantly message anyone around you on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch,
• Chat and share photos with one person or with a group,
• See what people are talking about everywhere, or create conversations that only people near you can join,
• Works even without any 3G, 4G or WiFi connection,
• Easy: no login, no password to remember,
• No significant impact on battery consumption,
• Available in English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Russian,
• FireChat is designed for iOS 7.