"Off the grid" messaging service FireChat launches on Android

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There are a ton of messaging apps available in the Google Play store, but there aren't many that let you chat "off the grid" like FireChat. The San Francisco-based startup behind the app, Open Garden, launched its clandestine messaging app last week for iOS, and now it's available for Android.

firechat android

Instead of using a typical Wi-Fi or cellular connection, FireChat enables devices to connect directly to one another. However, there are differences between the iPhone and Android versions: FireChat's iOS app utilizes Apple's Multipeer Connectivity Framework API, while FireChat on Android works with proprietary technology that the company developed itself. As a result, iOS and Android users can't message one another just yet.

OpenGarden has established itself as a security-focused app developer, first with its myriad of internet sharing apps for Android, and then by bundling its eponymous app with the Blackphone, an Android-powered handset dedicated specifically to enabling surreptitious smartphone use. But OpenGarden's FireChat has a heaping of messaging apps to compete with in the Android ecosystem, like the ever-popular WhatsApp and Snapchat. It may provide a reliable, secure way for users to contact one another, but at present it's just not as fun as some of the other messaging apps available in the Google Play store.

If you're interested, you can download the free app and test it out yourself.

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