Currently, we rely heavily on cell towers for cellular network coverage. Depending on the population density of an area, there may be more or fewer cell towers. For example, in a more rural part of a country, it does not make sense for carriers to invest in setting up more cell towers compared to a densely populated city.
That’s why sometimes when traveling out of town, there may be areas where cellular coverage is spotty or downright unavailable. The good news is that dead zones may soon be a thing of the past for future Android phones. That’s according to a tweet from Google executive Hiroshi Lockheimer, who confirmed that Android 14 will come with satellite communications support.
Wild to think about user experiences for phones that can connect to satellites. When we launched G1 in 2008, it was hard to get 3G+Wifi to work. Now we design for satellites. Cool! We’re excited to help our partners enable all of this in the next version of Android!
— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) September 1, 2022
If this sounds familiar, it’s because T-Mobile and SpaceX recently announced plans to use satellites to provide coverage in areas that have fewer cell towers. There have also been rumors suggesting that the iPhone 14 might also come with a similar feature. At this point, it’s unclear how it will work and if only newer models can take advantage of it due to specific hardware requirements, or if only a software update is needed, which would be great.
In the case of T-Mobile and SpaceX, both companies say no special hardware is needed, but Google may build something of their own. That being said, the introduction of satellite communications is less about being able to post an Instagram update on the top of a mountain, and more about providing cellular coverage in remote areas in the event of an emergency.