FireChat: An App That Allows Texting without Internet or Mobile Services

FireChat is a traditional messaging app with a twist. It allows you to text using normal communication methods but it also allows you to text using unconventional methods too. This new app has been released on Play Store and Apple App store recently and allows users to communicate with anyone within a 200 feet range.

This app uses a Bluetooth connection to spread the messages and makes its own network without the need of internet connection or cell service. On its surface, the app is a bit like twitter and a normal SMS messaging service. It allows public chat rooms created using hashtags and it also allows one-on-one communications. The apps biggest selling point is its ability to create a Bluetooth network when there is no other service available and handle communications over it.

Firechat uses a Bluetooth connection to spread the messages and makes its own network without the need of internet connection or cell service

If an internet connection is available, FireChat will connect using that but if that’s unavailable the app employs a method called ad-hoc Bluetooth network allowing users in proximity to communicate with one another. If a communication has been started over an ad-hoc Bluetooth network, it will persist to communicate over it even when the internet connection is restored. This is done to ensure the network remains established for users who still lack the ability to communicate over the internet.

The developers of the app drew special attention to political protests as a possible use scenario for the app when governments ban communication apps over the internet. Citizens can create huge Bluetooth networks and continue to communicate with one another and when the protests are over, they can still continue to communicate with each other in those public chat rooms. In fact, many in Hong Kong used the app to get over communication bans.

Firechat has political applications as despot governments have a tendency to ban communications in protests

FireChat is free for the time being and the developers say they have enough capital to manage the app for two years, but when they do monetize, they will license its Bluetooth connectivity to mobile game developers or developers who want to use a similar method to create networks for their applications. The app is free to download and available on iOS and Android.

He is the Editor at ProPakistani. Reach him at [email protected]