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Republic Wireless Relay is a clever walkie-talkie

Republic Wireless is a non-traditional mobile carrier working on the idea you’ll you’re always near a safe and fast Wifi connection. It’s a lot like what Project Fi is doing with working on both T-Mobile’s and Sprint network, handing off the connection to whichever is the best. The company is now venturing into hardware, and not the traditional carrier branded phones; they’ve announced the Relay. A smart, square, screenless walkie-talkie with Google Assistant built in. It’s meant to keep families in contact without all the distraction of a full-fledged smartphone. The Relay works on both Wifi and 4G LTE, and doubles as a way to track everyone in the family.

To talk, you push and hold the button to talk to other devices connected to your family. It acts a lot like a walkie-talkie without much control over who’s able to listen into the conversation. You’re also able to press and hold the button to ask Google Assistant questions, to play music, or play games. The Relay is designed to be durable which includes a water-resistant body.

The Relay is a walkie-talkie for 2017

Parents are giving children phones earlier and earlier, and part of the reason is they want/need to stay in communication with their child. Giving a young child a phone opens them up to abuse and thousands of other problems. The Relay allows parents to basically give their kids a phone without the harm or risk associated with the unrestricted internet.

The device works just like a walkie-talkie so if someone else pushes the button and talks the other Relay’s start to broadcast whoever’s talking. Republic Wireless has included a 3.5mm headphone jack to connect headphones so you can listen to music while on the go. There’s also GPS, LED notification ring, magnetic charging, NFC contact sharing, plus integrated haptic feedback and an accelerometer.

The Relay cost $99 for a single one,  $149 for a two-pack, and the 3-pack is a total of $199. There is a $6.99 service fee each month for the device, but that’s much cheaper than average data prices.

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