What you need to know
- Satellite connectivity on the iPhone 14 helped save a family from the wildfires in Hawaii.
- Several similar stories have been shared since the iPhone 14 debuted the feature, making Android users wonder when they can use it.
- T-Mobile and Starlink previously announced a satellite connectivity partnership that will launch with Android 14 later this Summer.
- Existing phones can use a Motorola Defy Satellite Link to get satellite connectivity right now.
If it weren't such a sensitive subject, it would make sense for Apple to jump on the opportunity to prove why iPhones are superior to Android phones in one key area. I'm talking about satellite connectivity, a new feature launched on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro last fall, and it's been integral in helping rescue people in Hawaii as wildfires continue to ravage the island state.
Our sister site, iMore, detailed the harrowing story of a family suddenly caught in the midst of inescapable danger as they were fleeing the wildfires. As the family's car is surrounded by fire, they contacted emergency services via the iPhone's satellite connectivity feature and got rescued in 30 minutes.
While the story isn't a common one, similar accounts have been shared since the phones launched with the feature last fall, including hikers being rescued from canyons and other frightening situations.
Last September, Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google's senior vice president of platforms and ecosystems, revealed that satellite connectivity would be coming to Android 14. There are already examples of Android phones with satellite capability, but it's not as widespread or ubiquitous as it should be, with various proprietary methods in the works.
Android 14's final beta version just rolled out a few days ago, and while we haven't seen much of the new satellite connectivity, we do know that most Android phones on the market right now will likely only support the feature on certain carriers like T-Mobile with its Starlink partnership.
Mishaal Rahman notes that even the best Android phones won't be seeing satellite connectivity the moment Android 14 releases because the final API isn't yet ready. It's possible that the Pixel 8 will include the feature when it's expected to launch in October, but there's no guarantee.
Before then, however, you can actually buy a Motorola Defy Satellite Link that enables satellite connectivity on any phone you connect it to. It uses the Bullitt Satellite Messenger app to relay messages and location info over Bluetooth between your phone and the Defy Satellite Link.
The Defy Satellite Link is a super ruggedized device that you can take anywhere and not have to worry about it. It's also got a handy keyring attached to it, so it's convenient to mount it where you need it.
We've got one in-house and are currently working on testing it, but for now, you can grab one at the link below if it interests you. We've also taken a look at which smartwatches you can trust in an emergency if you want to be extra sure in the most scary moments.
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I wouldn't mind but been for years without so whenever it comes.Reply
Android phone users are generally a lot less likely to find themselves scantily clad, broken down, helplessly stranded in the middle of nowhere without a clue nor food nor water, and clinging to their cell phone for dear life. But for those who've grown accustomed to substituting expensive gadgets for basic common sense, this tech would be a godsend.AC News said:Satellite connectivity on smartphones was once relegated to bulky brick phones, but modern technology fixes that. It's time for Android to catch up.
It's time for Android to finally get satellite connectivity : Read more
😁😁CajunMoses said:Android phone users are generally a lot less likely to find themselves scantily clad, broken down, helplessly stranded in the middle of nowhere without a clue nor food nor water, and clinging to their cell phone for dear life. But for those who've grown accustomed to substituting expensive gadgets for basic common sense, this tech would be a godsend.
"finally" lol. Apple users finally (used correctly this time) get a useful feature before Android, on the current gen iphone, and now their users (as I am sure the author is) are acting like they've had it for a decade. How about you brag about your iphone when it finally (again, used appropriately) gets type-c, or a close all button for your apps, or a dedicated back button, or a folding phone, ect ect...Reply