Android 14 will support satellite connectivity. The news was broken by Google’s own VP of platforms and ecosystems, Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer), who took it to Twitter to confirm that the next version of Android will be able to connect to the nearest satellite above you.
This tweet is most likely addressing T-Mobile and SpaceX’s latest collaboration, which will see the carrier utilize Starlink’s satellites in order to provide connectivity to phones in cell coverage dead zones. The service will hopefully be free for T-Mobile subscribers on the popular plans, but the service isn’t expected to be live until late 2023 in the earliest.
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!
Initially, it’s hardly likely that this satellite connectivity will mostly be limited to SMS texting and basic support for some messaging apps, due to the limited amount of data that can be transmitted, but in the not-so-distant future we might rely on satellites for photo and even video transmission in areas without cellular reception.
Of course, upcoming Android phones will most certainly have to have the necessary hardware requirements in order to tap into the vast satellite network above us.
Android 14 “U” will likely be arriving in February or March 2023 as a beta for eligible Pixels, and will be officially released in August 2023, probably. As a refresher, Android 13 is already out for Pixel phones and coming to other brands in the coming months.
Satellite connectivity is all the rage now, with Apple expected to announce satellite connectivity for its upcoming iPhone 14 series and Apple Watch 8, which are all coming September 7.