Open Garden has just hit the Google Play store for Android smartphones and tablets. Promising to ensure you have Internet access wherever you are, their revolutionary mesh communication grid may well deliver the connectivity any mobile user has been craving. What’s it about?

To understand what Open Garden is all about, we have to be clear on the current state of affairs. Getting online by using ‘tethering’ – using your phone as a personal hotspot and ‘tethering’ it to your laptop or ultrabook, thus making it possible to use your phone’s internet on your laptop – requires several steps to setup, and it can be quite expensive (as well as being draining to your phone’s battery life if you forget to disable the personal hotspot!). With Open Garden, all you have to is open your laptop and then you can use the internet straightaway.

So how does this magic occur? Open Garden, a startup founded by ex-Skype negotiator Micha Benoliel, offers something called ‘mesh connectivity’. In tech-speak, that means it crowdsources connectivity from connected devices around you. In layman’s terms, that means it connects your device to every other device running Open Garden and either a) connects to their internet if you have none, or b) shares your internet if they have none. The best bit? If you’re connected to the internet through an Open Garden connection – by connecting to someone else’s Open-Garden-enabled device, say – you’ll share that connection with other Open Garden users. This means that someone’s wifi hotspot ten miles away could, through many users’ devices, give you internet access. Groovy.

Before we hit the very obvious concerns, let’s discuss two more things that Open Garden have in the pipeline. First up is ‘Channel Bonding’. Open Garden is frustrated that we cannot use multiple connections at the same time to increase our internet speed (and reliability). Obviously, building a mesh network in this way demands that you can – you’ve got to be able to connect to many other Open-Garden-enabled devices to work, or else it’d be a single-line chain of connectivity instead of a web of sharing. This is potentially very exciting stuff: could you boost your internet bandwidth by channel bonding your mobile phone’s 3G, too?

While there are obviously concerns over both privacy and internet allowance use – some of us are on limited internet connections here – Open Garden seeks to overcome all of them in their FAQ and forum sections. The Open Garden Mesh app is available right now, using a beta version of the program to allow seamless connecting of Android devices, Windows PCs and Mac computers. Let’s give a usage example before we go.

If you’re stuck on the road without internet access – let’s say you have a WiFi-only tablet – you can still get online. How? Because the guy in the car next to you has Open Garden running on his phone, so you can hook on to his internet. Except it’s not his internet, really – because he’s channel bonding from four other Open Garden users in the vicinity, including one that’s running on a residential WiFi network by the side of the road. So your tablet suddenly goes from no internet to really fast connectivity. We’re not quite there yet – but we soon will be. Check out Open Garden at their website.

Would you want to install Open Garden on your device? What would be your concerns? Or do you think this is the future? Let us know by dropping a comment in the box below.