Last week we got into Relay’s design. This week we’re getting into the tech. When it came to Relay’s hardware and software, our team focused on creating a fast, smart, intuitive communication tool in a compact package. We want Relay to be the best at what it does. Here’s how we did it.
We made it compact
We managed to jam-pack a lot of hardware into a tiny device. We made both design and tech decisions with this in mind. Here are some of the key decisions we made.
Remember the cut-out corner in our early prototype? A big part of why we removed it was the extra room we needed inside Relay. That space allowed us to install a more powerful cell antenna and capture more LTE bands. There are lots of LTE bands that are useful in different ways. High-frequency bands are fastest but don’t get through walls too well. Low-frequency bands work better in basements, buildings, wherever. More bands mean more coverage where you need it.
The perfect battery
We’ve talked about our custom 2-day battery before. There are a lot of batteries out there to power smartphones and other mobile devices, but Relay is unique in shape, size, and the power it takes to run. Moving from a standard battery to a custom battery allowed us to design the perfect size that still allowed room for the other hardware we needed without compromising battery life. In fact, we saw a battery life increase of around 70% when we went custom.
We upped our tech game
We talk about Relay being a smart walkie-talkie, but it’s a lot more than that. Yes, you push a button to talk, but because of the technology we use, Relay has far greater range and is clearer than a walkie-talkie.
We like conversation that flows naturally, so we worked to minimize any potential gaps in Relay’s message flow. An important part of that was introducing voice streaming. That means the moment you push the talk button, your voice starts transmitting immediately. With Relay, it’s as close to real-time as it gets. It’s not a voicemail, it’s a conversation.
Speed of transmission
So your message sends right away. But how fast can it get there? Luckily, we have lots of experience on this front. Over the years, we have streamlined voice compression and transmission speed while working with VOIP technology, or WiFi calling, at Republic. We use audio codecs to compress audio and send it faster. The more tightly compressed, the faster the audio can stream. For Relay, this technology improves transmission speed and helps it perform better, even in poor reception areas and on low-speed networks.
Streamlining the software
There are certain features that we didn’t include in the main communication channel in the name of speed and efficiency. A good example is voice recognition. If Relay was listening out for a command to “send message,” or any other command, it would take time for it to process what you’re saying to determine whether you’re saying any key words that it needs to act on. And when you’re creating a fast communication device, that time is important.
We left room for evolution
We want Relay to be the best at what is does, not an average performer at a lot of things. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t expanding its skillset. Here’s our plan moving forward.
Channels and updates
By creating separate channels for Relay, we can add things like voice recognition, games, and music without compromising its speed. By allowing it to receive these new channels through software updates, we can fit all these new features into the sleek, compact hardware we created. And by making channels optional, we can create a custom experience for every user.
So what would you like to know more about? What features are you pumped about? You can stay up to date on Relay news, blog, and more by receiving our Relay newsletter. Next time, we’ll get into all the details about the Relay app.
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