We’ve heard rumors that Apple wants to add satellite support to the iPhone 14 to keep users connected wherever they are in the world. It now appears that Google is planning the same with its software and hardware in 2023.
This news comes from Android CEO
(opens in new tab) (through XDA Developers (opens in new tab)) who says his team is working on satellite support and that this “‘all will be possible in the next version of Android.” In other words, 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
Android 13 is now gradually being rolled out to users around the world, so Android 14 should be out next year. If the software is there to access services via satellite networks, then it’s presumably also a feature that could be added to the Google Pixel 8 later in 2023.
Lockheimer doesn’t go into much detail about this, and this is clearly still at a very early stage. From what we understand from the Apple rumours, it seems that satellite connections can be used in emergency situations in areas where there is no cellular coverage.
This is only the second time we’ve heard about Android 14, which will most likely be announced at the Google IO event in May. Previously, the operating system was rumored to have been given a code name, but that’s pretty much all the news so far.
There hasn’t been much leaked and gossip about the Pixel 8 either (the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are expected next month), except that apparently work is already underway on the Tensor 3 chipset for the Pixel 8.
Analysis: an upgrade
In 2021 there was already a rumor that the iPhone 13 over satellite connection would have. This innovative mobile technology did not just come out of the blue, because it has been working on it for a number of years now.
However, it seems that there is a renewed impetus for satellite-capable smartphones: the technology is becoming more reliable and cheaper, and is now making its way into products that consumers can afford and buy.
The idea is that instead of looking for a cell tower or a Wi-Fi network, devices can access the rest of the world by connecting to a satellite in space operated by a company like Starlink, this is a bit like GPS, but for data rather than location.
The next step is to integrate this technology into smartphones as well, but don’t expect too much: this connection will probably be limited to emergencies, so you won’t be able to stream videos in the middle of the jungle.