“A new iOS app called FireChat [free via Apple’s App Store] is blowing up in the App Store,” Christina Bonnington reports for Wired. “But it’s not the app itself that’s causing such a stir, it’s the underlying networking technology [into which] it taps.”
“The idea behind FireChat is simple. It’s a chatting app. After registering with a name — no email address or other personal identifiers required — you’re dropped into a fast-moving chatroom of ‘Everyone’ using it in your country,” Bonnington reports. “The interesting aspect, however, is the ‘Nearby’ option. Here, the app uses Apple’s Multipeer Connectivity framework, essentially a peer-to-peer feature that lets you share messages (and soon photos) with other app users nearby, regardless of whether you have an actual Wi-Fi or cellular connection.”
“You read that correctly. You’re able to send and receive messages even when you don’t have a data connection,” Bonnington reports. “FireChat accomplishes this magic by allowing each device to connect directly to others nearby using Bluetooth, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, or traditional Wi-Fi networks. Because you’re connecting directly with other users, you don’t actually need to be connected over Wi-Fi or a cellular network.”
Much more in the full article here.