Google invents a new use for satellite connection

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google invents a new use for satellite connection
google invents a new use for satellite connection

According to the beta versions of the latest Android update, Google is considering the introduction of a function that would expand the connection capacity of a smartphone, even without a signal or WiFi nearby.

Satellite connectivity is a communication option that several companies are exploring. Google joins the list of interested parties. To overcome the problem of not having a signal at a specific point or not being able to have WiFi nearby, the multinational is exploring the use of this technology for its Google Messages application . This is a feature that Apple’s iPhone 14 phones already include.

It was originally assumed that this option would be included only for emergency calls. However, judging by what was found in a beta version of the platform, the application will use this non-terrestrial network (NTN) connection for normal sending of messages to contacts.

It was the code from version 20240329_01_RC00 of Google Messages that gave the clue as to how this technology would work in the application. In principle, with this connection only the sending of messages would be allowed, not videos or photographs. Furthermore, it is not a foolproof technology either: clear skies are needed. Even sending messages would be done at a slower speed than through the other types of connection.

 

The theory that this new functionality will be implemented in the near future seems to be confirmed by Android developers. Those who have had access to the Android 15 system have been able to see a notification with the text “Autoconnected to the satellite.” Additionally, another message displayed in the operating system says: “You can send messages to anyone, including emergency services. Your phone will reconnect to a mobile network when it is available.

Possible collaboration with T-Mobile or Starlink

However, according to the images published by Android Authority of the new system, the use of this satellite connection would require the user to previously add it to their mobile plan through their operator. In the image shared by the aforementioned medium, you can read in the Satellite Messages tab the text: “Satellite messaging is not included in your account”, and next to it, an option that says “Add satellite messaging” .

To offer this connectivity, Google could be working with providers T-Mobile and Starlink. These two companies announced in 2022 that they would begin a collaboration to ensure that Elon Musk’s satellites could connect directly with mobile devices. The use of T-Mobile ‘s satellite connection by Google is expected because, in Android 15 that they have been able to analyze from Android Authority, the link to add satellite messaging leads to a website of the mobile network operator.

Last February, Google made a strategic investment in the company AST SpaceMobile, a LEO satellite provider, so this could be another option as a provider to consider in the future.

Given that Apple has already implemented satellite connection for its emergency calling function (Emergency SOS), some specialized media suggest that Google would be trying to implement a similar or expanded function for its Android operating system as soon as possible.

 

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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise