Google and Qualcomm tease Android phones with satellite connectivity.
It will make its debut in Android 14.
T-Mobile and SpaceX recently announced a collaboration to use low-orbit satellites to permanently eliminate network dead zones. Furthermore, it is rumoured that Apple will include satellite connectivity for emergency SOS in at least some iPhone 14 models, which will be released on September 7. Given the push toward satellite connectivity, it is only a matter of time before Android smartphone manufacturers join in. To make things easier for them, Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP of Android and other Google services, has confirmed that satellite support will be baked into the next Android release.
Lockheimer said in a tweet that it was incredible to think that when “We launched the G1 in 2008, and getting 3G + WiFi to work was a challenge. We are currently designing for satellites.” With Android 13 already out, satellite connectivity support can only come in Android 13L (if Google decides to release it) or Android 14.
Wild to think about user experiences for phones that can connect to satellites. When we launched G1 in ’08 it was a stretch to get 3G + Wifi working. Now we’re designing for satellites. Cool! Excited to support our partners in enabling all of this in the next version of Android!
— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) September 1, 2022
The addition of satellite connectivity support to the OS by Google will make it easier for Android smartphone manufacturers to implement the technology on their devices. It should, at the very least, result in a better end-user experience.
Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon teased at IFA 2022 that the company is working on adding satellite communication capabilities to its Snapdragon Connect modems. However, there is no set date for when the product will be available for purchase.
Most businesses are considering satellite connectivity to eliminate network dead zones in remote areas around the world. It cannot replace traditional mobile network towers because it only has enough bandwidth to handle a few thousand voice calls and texts at the same time. It is unable to support high-bandwidth mobile data. The connectivity option is intended to assist users in no-network zones in reaching out to loved ones and emergency services during a crisis.