Satellite-based texting in Android 15 might let you talk to everyone


What you need to know

  • An alternative satellite messaging service was spotted in Android 14’s latest beta, and it could be included in Android 15.
  • A “Satellite Messaging” page was spotted, but a link for more information takes you to a non-existent T-Mobile page.
  • It’s speculated that T-Mobile could be Google’s primary source of satellite-based text messaging, allowing users to contact friends and family and access emergency services.
  • T-Mobile partnered with SpaceX in 2022 to try to end dead zones, and its initiative could launch in 2024.

More information is coming to light surrounding Android 15’s satellite communication capabilities for text messages.

A dive into Android 14’s latest beta by Mishaal Rahman (Android Authority) showed signs of how Google could make satellite texts work. The beta now shows a new “Satellite Messaging” page that states users can “send and receive text messages by satellite as part of an eligible account.” This is followed by a button that users can tap once it arrives to add this feature to their mobile plan.

While the beta page doesn’t mention a specific provider, tapping the “More” button sent Rahman to an unresponsive T-Mobile page.

It’s currently speculated that T-Mobile could be Google’s primary source for Android users to grab satellite-capable text messaging with its next major OS.

Functionality-wise, the satellite messaging page states that users can leverage it when they don’t have a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. It adds, “for the best connection, keep a clear view of the sky.” Users will also be able to contact anyone they know in addition to emergency services.

Satellite connectivity comes with warnings, as Google’s page states that text messages may take longer to send and will only be available in “some areas.” More importantly, cloudy days and other weather occurrences will negatively impact your connection, as well as structures.

(Image credit: Android Authority)

Speculation behind T-Mobile’s potential place as Android 15’s initial satellite texting provider stems from its partnership with SpaceX. The two companies launched their big initiative to combat dead zones back in August 2022. The announcement stated T-Mobile users would be able to connect directly to SpaceX satellites for text messaging purposes only.

It was also said that the antennas would support anywhere from two to 4MB per cell zone, which “should” cover basic texts, MMS, and support messaging apps.

More importantly, as Rahman notes, SpaceX has already launched its “Direct to Cell” satellites, which are capable of handling all LTE phones. We may not be far from a formal reveal from T-Mobile about its satellite-supported messaging.

Elsewhere, Google’s “Satellite SOS” function was recently spotted, too. For calls, Google referred to Garmin Response, a center of support staff ready to assist users in difficult emergencies. The feature would also support text messaging, but it would only work for emergencies, in contrast to T-Mobile’s potential influence.

Via: Androidcentral

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