A cooperation between T-Mobile and SpaceX that would allow cellphones to link directly to satellites was revealed a week ago. Starlink V2 satellites will enable this, and because it uses an existing PCS frequency band, current phones will be compatible.
Hiroshi Lockheimer, the SVP of Platforms & Ecosystems at Google, tweeted that the firm is working on integrating satellite communication functionality into the upcoming version of Android (v14). Although the present phone’s radio hardware will function, it’s not yet known what software changes will be necessary (for example, can Android 13 phones access the satellite network or would Android 14 be needed?).
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
The beta testing of the new satellite by T-Mobile and SpaceX is anticipated to begin in late 2023, around the release of Android 14 at that time. Initially just covering the US, but the firms intend to extend the service to include every country.
Although it will be modest (2 to 4 Mbps per cellular zone), that is plenty for millions of text messages. Not just regular SMS but also MMS and “participating messaging applications” will be enabled. Later, voice calls and potentially mobile data capability will be included (the usability for general Internet browsing is unknown, but the service should have enough bandwidth for 1-2,000 voice calls, great in cases of emergencies and in remote areas).
Android 14 will finally get rid of Android Beam, according to other connection reports. That was discontinued with Android 10, but Android app developers who still desired to utilize it might continue to do so for a few more years. It will be entirely removed from Android in version 14. As an alternative, Google is promoting its own Nearby Share.
However, there is no inherent motivation for Android developers to adopt it because it is not a part of AOSP. The Mutual Transfer Alliance, which has created a different local data transfer method, has actually attracted the top Android manufacturers as members.
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