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Last week, SpaceX announced that it would partner with T-Mobile to bring satellite connectivity to smartphones. Following this, Google announced that it will support satellite connectivity in the next version of Android 14 and will help partners to activate this technology.
The news comes from Google’s Vice President of Platforms and Ecosystems, Hiroshi Lockheimer, and he recalls how difficult it was to get 3G + Wi-Fi up and running on the first Android phone, the HTC Dream, also known as the T-Mobile G1.
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
However, it should be noted that the satellite connection in the phones does not offer high-speed Internet, but instead works to eliminate zones where there is no cellular connection and helps in emergency situations.
T-Mobile said it will initially support text messaging, MMS and select messaging apps. The company further said that it would also consider data and voice support in the long term. The carrier expects to launch an initial beta version sometime in late 2023. And while existing phones and Android devices will get support, the inclusion of OS-level support would be very helpful.
That said, well-known Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo has also suggested that Apple is working with Globalstar to bring satellite connectivity to the iPhone 14 series. But if the tech giant fails to get legal permission in India, it will have to disable the feature.