Satellite communication, which became a trend after Apple provided satellite emergency communication in iPhones, is now actively being adapted by Google. This functionality allows users to send urgent SOS messages via satellite communication in areas where terrestrial cellular networks may be unavailable, although it usually requires additional charges.
1. Google Messages Integration: Google is working to enable emergency messages via satellite communication in its built-in Android app, Google Messages.
2. SOS Placeholder Spotted: Developer Neil Rahmouni found an emergency SOS placeholder in the latest version of Google Messages, indicating that the feature will utilize the phone’s supported satellite communication capability.
3. Hardware Requirements: The function provided by Google requires hardware support, and users might need to pay extra to utilize the satellite communication service.
4. Promotion of Satellite Communication: Google’s move will likely promote the use of satellite communication, especially among OEMs that already use native Android. If the hardware supports satellite communication, OEMs won’t need to develop additional applications, as Google Messages is pre-installed in Android.
5. Availability in Android 14: Google’s official plans reveal that Android 14 will support satellite communication. Whether earlier versions will receive this feature through system updates remains uncertain.
Implications and Analysis:
The inclusion of satellite communication support in Google Messages marks a significant step toward enhancing the emergency communication capabilities of Android devices. By allowing users to send urgent messages via satellite, Google is offering a potentially life-saving feature that can operate even in the absence of traditional network coverage.
The feature’s success, however, will depend on factors like hardware compatibility, additional costs, and OEM adoption. The integration of satellite communication within Google Messages may drive more Android OEMs to incorporate compatible hardware, thereby making this feature more accessible and standard across Android devices.