Texting from anywhere? Android 15 might bring satellite messaging


TL;DR:

  • Android 15 may introduce satellite messaging, allowing texts via satellite when cell service is unavailable
  • The feature might work thanks to the T-Mobile and SpaceX’s collaboration for satellite connectivity
  • Details are still unclear, including how current phones will adapt.

While cell towers provide widespread coverage in developed nations, many remote areas still lack connectivity. When emergencies strike, and you’re stuck without regular cell service, having devices with satellite capabilities for SOS communication is a game-changer. Apple kicked things off with Emergency SOS satellite connectivity in the iPhone 14 Pro series in 2023. Right now, most Android smartphones can’t shoot off text messages via satellite, but there’s a buzz that Google might patch up this gap in Android 15.

In a deep dive into the recent Android 14 QPR3 Beta 2 release, Android expert Mishaal Rahman (via Android Authority) uncovered the intriguing addition of a Satellite Messaging page in Settings.

This nifty feature will reportedly let you “send and receive text messages by satellite” if you have the right account. Your phone will cleverly hook up to a satellite when regular cellular service takes a hike. For the optimal connection, the advice is to make sure you’ve got a clear view of the sky because weather and some buildings might play spoilsport with your satellite connection.

What’s more, once your phone links up with a satellite, it looks like you can text anyone, not just emergency services. And when you’re back in range of a regular mobile network, your phone will bid farewell to the satellite and connect to cellular connectivity once again.

Now, you might be wondering, how does your current Android phone connect to a satellite without the necessary hardware? Well, it seems T-Mobile and SpaceX have a hand in it.

Back in 2022, these two giants teamed up for “Direct to Cell,” a nifty tech that lets your existing LTE phones chat with low-orbit satellites. Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite constellation, sent out the initial batch of Direct to Cell satellites in February.

Word on the street is T-Mobile is gearing up to spill the beans on this feature. Oh, and it seems like Google is gearing up to support Direct to Cell in Android 15, judging by the Satellite Messaging page in the latest Android 14 QPR3 beta.

However, there is still a lot we don’t know about satellite messaging on Android. While it seems like existing phones might soon get the ability to chat with satellites even without the usual hardware, things could shift before the big release.



Source link