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(Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)

New messaging app Berkanan (iOS) lets users communicate in areas with poor or no cellular connectivity. The app, created by Romanian developer Zsombor Szabó, functions where other cell phones might not: planes, festivals, camping, and more.

Since the app uses Bluetooth, it can find and connect other people using the app in your vicinity. Think the Marauder's Map from Harry Potter--you can see other Berkanan users moving around your profile icon on the screen.

The app works in the background and notifies you of nearby users and messages.

SEE: The best emergency apps for hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters

Through Berkanan, you can participate in public or private chats and audio calls. Public chats automatically delete after 24 hours. The app claims end-to-end encryption for private messages. To make a call, start a chat, or participate in one, you must be within about 160 feet (50 meters or about half a football field) of another user.

Szabó told Download.com that by default you get notified once from the first private message from another user.

"If you reply, the app interprets it as you have accepted the request, and will be notified for their next private messages," Szabó said.

The process is similar to how Facebook alerts you if someone who you're not friends with wants to send you a private message. The option is open for users to accept or deny.

Szabó also noted that there are more settings for users to customize public and private messages in the app.

Without the hassle of registering, you can create a profile on the app. If you want to add a profile picture or a short bio, it costs $3.

A messenger app that performs in areas of low connectivity would be helpful in emergencies. Networks often slow down during a disaster or crisis because of the high volume of users or possible damage to cellular towers.

Social media sites have released lite versions of their apps. The lite apps work better on 2G networks, but not if a network goes down completely. Berkanan still works without cellular connectivity. The app could be useful in underdeveloped countries where cellular coverage is still expanding.

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Takeaways

  1. The new messenger app Berkanan operates on Bluetooth and works in areas with low or no cellular connectivity.
  2. The app could help people during disasters or emergencies when cellular networks are compromised. It could also help connect users in underdeveloped areas with spotty connectivity.

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Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's Download.com. She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Louisville.com. Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.