Last week, SpaceX announced it was working with T-Mobile to bring satellite connectivity to smartphones. Following this, Google announced that the next version of Android 14 will support satellite connectivity and help partners enable the technology.
The news comes from Hiroshi Rockheimer, VP of Platforms and Ecosystems at Google, about how hard it was to get 3G + Wi-Fi working on the first Android phone HTC Dream, also known as the T-Mobile G1. I remember what it was
It’s wild to think about the user experience of a cell phone that can connect to satellite. In 2008, when he launched the G1, he had a hard time getting 3G + Wifi working. I am currently working on a design for a satellite. cool! We look forward to supporting our partners in enabling all of this in the next version of Android.
— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) September 1, 2022
Keep in mind, though, that the phone’s satellite connection doesn’t provide high-speed internet, it eliminates zones without cellular connectivity and is useful in emergencies.
T-Mobile said it will initially support text messaging, MMS and some messaging apps. The company says it will also look into data and voice support in the long term. And while existing phones and Android devices are supported, the inclusion of operating system level support is very helpful.
That said, prominent Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo has also suggested that Apple is working with Globalstar to bring satellite connectivity to the iPhone 14 series. But unless the tech giant can get legal permission in India, the feature should be disabled.