Revolutionary Communication Device Bringing Decentralized Communication to the Smartphone

Toronto-based hardware company, Sonnet Labs, today announces Sonnet, a breakthrough wireless device that enables smartphones to send instant messages, image data, and GPS locations without cellular coverage, satellite, or Internet access. It brings the long-range wireless communication capability of the walkie-talkie to the smartphone, allowing users to stay in touch in the wilderness, beyond the reach of cell towers, in crowded conventions, where the network is congested, and even during natural disasters, where basic infrastructure is completely wiped out. The device will be launched on Kickstarter, where it will be available for pre-order.

“Sonnet transforms your smartphone into the walkie-talkie of the 21st century,” said Boken Lin, Sonnet Labs’ founder, and CEO. “But instead of sending low-quality audio, you can now send text messages, images, and GPS coordinates.”

Sonnet is the next generation of mobile communication by enabling device-to-device data transfer through low-power, long-range radio frequencies, thus removing smartphones’ dependence on the cellular grid and other networking infrastructures. Sonnet connects wirelessly to any smartphone, which can then send data up to several miles away to other Sonnet-equipped smartphones. There is also an SOS feature built-in, which can be activated by long-pressing a button on the device. Once activated, Sonnet will broadcast a distress call along with the current GPS location of the user to all Sonnet devices in range.

“In the wilderness, Sonnet can give adventurers peace of mind knowing they can still communicate with each other no matter how harsh the conditions are,” said Randolf Gioro, CMO at Sonnet Labs. “This also extends to families who have emergency prep plans to deal with natural disasters such as earthquake or hurricanes.”

Sonnet provides a typical point-to-point range that varies from 1.5km (1mi) in the cities to 5km (3mi) in typical terrains to 10km (6mi) on mountain tops. The state-of-the-art mesh networking protocol dramatically increases the effective range and allows users to send data to recipients who are out of point-to-point range by automatically relaying data through other users in the area. All of this communication is done privately using industry-standard encryption technologies.

Featuring a rugged design that makes it well-suited for outdoor use, Sonnet has an IP rating of 66, which means that it is dust tight and is protected from heavy seas and powerful jets of water. Sonnet is designed with a clip mechanism that easily and securely attaches it to backpacks or other gears. It is powered by a 4000mAh rechargeable lithium polymer battery, which lasts up to 24 hours, and can charge smartphones via a USB cable.

Along with the Sonnet hardware device, there is a Sonnet App.  A full-featured messenger that allows users to send instant messages, photos, or GPS locations from their smartphones to other Sonnet-powered smartphones. Users can easily send direct messages to one friend, group messages to a few friends, or broadcast messages to anyone with a Sonnet in range. Sonnet App also features delivery and read receipts, as well as end-to-end encryption. Sonnet App features an offline map that can be used to navigate the area without requiring Internet access. A group of people can sync their GPS coordinates to visualize the relative location of everyone in the group in real time. Sonnet App can also periodically record the GPS coordinates as the user moves around, which becomes helpful when the user is lost and needs to backtrack to the origin.

Sonnet and the coinciding Sonnet App will be available for pre-order on Kickstarter starting Tuesday, June 27, 2017, for a suggested retail price of US $45 each or US $89 per pair. General availability is estimated to start in Q4 2017.

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