I did a lot of cool things at SXSWi 2014, but one of the coolest things I got to do was go for a trip in a private jet and test out some cool new technology from Gogo. As you probably know, Gogo powers wireless Internet for a number of airlines in the U.S. But now it’s extending that technology to eventually also enable smartphone users to text from the air and even make phone calls.
It plans to do that with a new “text and talk” app that relays messages and voice calls by making them digital and passing data to and from their base stations on the ground. The app will be released for iOS and Android, and should be made available over the next few months.
According to Gogo’s VP of product Brad Jaehn, in North America most airlines and the FAA have restricted voice calls while on an aircraft. But there are many places in the world, he says, where the technology is not only allowed, but has been requested.
The app is currently in beta and in use by some of the company’s power users. But it will be made more widely available soon, so you can text your friends even while you’re flying. And won’t that be fun.