Back in March I covered an app called FireChat. The app was initially released for iOS and what it did was that it took advantage of iOS 7’s Multipeer Connectivity Framework to enable offline chatting between other iOS devices. This allowed users to chat with one another even if there was no cellular reception and no Wi-Fi. FireChat for Android was released a month later and it too was limited to that platform. Today’s update finally breaks down the wall. FireChat now allows users to message between iOS and Android devices sans reception.
Previously if you were somewhere where everyone was using FireChat to communicate with each other you could only join in the conversation if you were on the same platform as everyone else. An Android user between a dozen iOS users would not be able to take part. This changes today.
The update finally brings interoperability to iOS and Android. Both platforms can form ad hoc mesh networks over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and send messages across, even if there’s no internet connection.
Obviously there’s a proximity restriction here, you can’t use the app to message someone on a different continent. But it will come in handy in places where reception is nonexistent or just bad. Crowded public spaces are just one example, the real world possibilities are endless. Since the messages aren’t bouncing off any servers, this is truly off-the-grid messaging.