What you need to know
- A Google executive has confirmed that the next version of Android will support direct satellite connectivity.
- T-Mobile and SpaceX recently announced a new partnership that aims to bring satellite connectivity to smartphones.
- Apple has been rumored to have this in the works for its upcoming iPhone 14 and Apple Watch 8.
Satellite connectivity is all the rage, apparently. It seems while Android 13 continues its gradual rollout to phones outside of the Pixel series, Google is already teasing features for Android 14.
In a tweet on Thursday, Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google's senior vice president of platforms and ecosystems, said that he's excited about the possibilities this brings and that Google plans to support satellite connectivity "in the next version of Android."
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!September 1, 2022
It isn't much of a stretch to figure out what "the next version of Android" might mean, but Google confirmed to 9to5Google that this is, in fact, Android 14.
Lockheimer's tweet is likely in response to the recently announced partnership between T-Mobile and SpaceX, utilizing the latter's Starlink satellites to provide basic connectivity to smartphones. The idea is to eliminate areas known as dead zones where even the best U.S. carriers have trouble providing basic service. This will initially include messaging such as SMS, MMS, certain messaging apps, and perhaps even video.
The beta for this isn't expected to kick off until late 2023 after SpaceX launches its next-generation satellites. However, the companies hope to expand the service to support calls and data, and the service is expected to be free for users on T-Mobiles "most popular plans."
In addition to this partnership, Apple has been long-rumored to have satellite connectivity support in the upcoming iPhone 14 and Apple Watch 8 devices. Apple is expected to announce its new devices on Wednesday, September 7, so we'll have to wait and see what the company announces.
The Google Pixel 6 Pro is a great device for anyone looking for a good camera experience. Plus, it'll be among the first smartphones to have access to the new features and the next version of Android, such as Android 14.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.