T-Mobile and SpaceX aren’t the only companies thinking about phones and satellites these days. It looks like Google is also getting into the game by adding smartphone support for satellite connections in its next Android 14. The update on that comes this morning from Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s senior vice president of Platforms and Ecosystems, who explained how “it was difficult to get 3G+Wifi to work” on the first Android phone of 2018.
According to the executive, the Mountain View company will “support its partners in enabling all of this”, referring to the agreement between SpaceX and T-Mobile. Soon, the operator’s users in the United States will have access to the internet signal provided by antennas installed on Starlink satellites.
Lockheimer explained that this type of connection will be different from the experience of using the internet via 4G LTE or the new 5G networks, in terms of speed and interaction time, among other things. Initially, satellites should only provide 2-Mbps to 4-Mbps of bandwidth for cell phones.
Given the bandwidth available, Elon Musk also said the satellite connection “could support one to two thousand simultaneous voice calls or hundreds of thousands of text messages that could be sent depending on the length of the text message.”
It is important to know that the satellite connection on smartphones is mainly used for emergency situations and to eliminate existing dead spots. T-Mobile plans to support text messaging, MMS, and even some messaging apps. The carrier also mentioned that it has to work with partners to ensure messaging traffic is segregated from other traffic.
Of course, work hasn’t started yet, but it will start in the coming months, and with Android 14 still not in public hands, it’s safe to say that the project, while going in the right direction, will take some time becomes. In addition to Android 14, iOS should also offer the same type of support, without depending on a mobile network, starting with the iPhone 14.
Android 14 Beta Release Date
Google has announced a beta test of Android 14. The answers to frequently asked questions say that beta updates of Android 13 QPR will continue until March 2023, after which test builds of Android 14 will begin to be released. It suggests our first non-developer-preview glimpse will arrive in April. Expect only two QPR betas next year rather than the three we saw in 2022.