It seems like SpaceX and T-Mobile aren't the only ones that are working to bring direct satellite connectivity to smartphones. Google has also jumped on the bandwagon and has announced that the next version of Android, i.e., Android 14, will bring support for smartphone to satellite connections.
This piece of information comes from Google’s Senior Vice President of Platforms & Ecosystems, Hiroshi Lockheimer. Hiroshi tweeted something interesting about what the tech giant is doing right now. He says, “we're designing for satellites. Cool! Excited to support our partners in enabling all of this in the next version of Android!.” According to 9To5Google, Google has confirmed the next version of Android here is Android 14.
The initial beta availability of the satellite connection service is expected to be in 2023
So, it shouldn't be confused with Android 13, which is already out for Pixel phones. The Android 14 OS is planned to arrive in mid-to-late 2023. Hiroshi also added in the tweet how the experience will be different from regular LTE and 5G connections. Satellite connection will definitely improve the speed, connectivity, and interaction time, “with just two to four megabits of bandwidth per cellular zone,” as Space Explored noted last week.
Giving satellites a bigger role, considering the growing number of connections in big cities and covering more devices, is a nice thought. T-Mobile plans to support text messaging, MMS, and select messaging apps for satellite connection. The feature isn't working yet and is expected to be available for the initial beta availability of this service in late 2023. Existing iPhone and Android devices will be supported. However, the experience should benefit from additional OS-level support, which Google has already announced.