Satellite emergency SOS is an essential function of the iPhone 14, so it’s no wonder Google wants to add this function to Android. Jason Cipriani/ZDNET
If Apple was the first to offer two-way emergency messaging via satellite to the general public, we all knew that it would not be long before Google offered this feature to Android users.
Code snippets discovered by the developer Neïl Rahmouni (via SamMobile) portend the arrival of an emergency satellite messaging function in Google Messages.
The code contains references to “Garmin” and “satellite messaging”.
Google will need devices with satellite capacity, which is currently quite limited
For now, there is nothing official from Google or Garmin, and we will have to wait for the launch of Android 14 later in the year to see if this feature will become official.
Garmin offers a range of satellite messaging devices, such as the inReach Messenger and the inReach Mini 2. These devices exploit the constellation of 66 Iridium satellites and, according to my tests, they work very well, are incredibly reliable and are a practical backup solution if things go wrong.
However, to bring satellite messaging to smartphones, Google will need devices with satellite capacity, which is currently quite limited.
A data subscription on satellite is not given
Smartphones such as the Cat S75 have built-in satellite antennas, but if Google plans to include this feature in Android 14, it is likely that the main manufacturers, such as Samsung, Motorola and others, will add support for satellites.
But there is a question of cost.
Currently, Emergency SOS by Satellite on the iPhone is “free for two years after activating the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro”, and since these devices are not yet one year old, we don’t know how much Apple will charge in the end.
What I do know is that a data subscription on satellite is not given.
I don’t see the average consumer paying this kind of bill, and I expect that, as with the iPhone, this function will be offered free of charge to owners of new high-end Android phones, with Google paying the bill. For a while.
Still, emergency access to the satellite network can save lives, and the more devices with this function, the better.
Source: “ZDNet.com “