Google SVP of platforms and ecosystems Hiroshi Lockheimer appeared to indicate Android 14, the next version of its OS, will be compatible with satellite communications, tapping a broader trend to enable mainstream devices to receive space-based signals.
In a tweet, Lockheimer noted his team was working to enable satellite communications in the next version of the OS. Google has only just launched Android 13 and is expected to roll out a beta of version 14 in April 2023.
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
Apple is rumoured to be preparing a satellite messaging service with Globalstar in its next iPhone, which it is scheduled to unveil on 7 September.
Closing the gap
Exploiting satellite connectivity to plug mobile network coverage gaps is certainly a hot topic. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and T-Mobile US boss Mike Sievert have already announced the mobile operator plans to offer basic services to mobile phones by using Starlink’s second generation satellites.
In addition, AST SpaceMobile is aiming to launch a phone-to-satellite service and has deals with various operators.
Start-up Lynk Global is planning to offer commercial services by the end of this year and signed-up operators across Central Africa, Mongolia as well as several Pacific and Caribbean nations.
AT&T also struck a deal with Starlink rival OneWeb to sell broadband services to businesses outside the area of its fibre network and Verizon plans to extend reach to underserved communities via a partnership with Amazon.