Two weeks after its iPhone debut, FireChat is now available for Android smartphones. The application's claim to fame happens to be the fact that it allows users to say in touch without a cellular or Internet connection.
How Does it Work?
The free messaging app applies a technology called wireless mesh networking, which might someday allow a myriad of devices to connect like links in a chain.
The technique might be used in the future to link millions of devices with built-in radios, thus allowing people to go online without having to pay for the access. Apart from this, the technology can allow for online communications in remote areas or disaster zones, which often lack Wi-Fi or cellular signals.
Also worth noting is that such networks can help preserve privacy and free speech, since it is harder for governments and other bodies to tap into these networks.
Here's the catch. Android FireChat users will only be able to communicate with other Android FireChat users in nearby mode. This is the same for iOS users, who'll only be able to talk to other users on iPhones and iPads.
And then comes the app's global mode, which requires an internet connection. The result happens to be a gigantic chatroom of users from across the country. This will also be the only place that FireChat users from Android and iOS will be able to communicate.
"We are trying to create networks built by the people for the people," said Micha Benoliel, CEO of Open Garden, maker of the FireChat app.
Currently, the start up has only 10 employees and is based in San Francisco.
During the debut of the app on iOS last month, it saw around 100,000 downloads a day on the iTunes store. Open Garden is now expecting a similar performance with the Android release.