May 21, 2024

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The Pixel 9 is said to be gearing up to support SOS via satellite

The Pixel 9 is said to be gearing up to support SOS via satellite

Zoom in / The smaller Pixel 9 with three cameras?!

Google has put a lot of work into Android to support satellite messaging, and it would certainly be nice if someone shipped some devices that it could actually use. Despite launching the feature with the iPhone 14 in 2022, Android manufacturers haven't been very receptive to mimicking the idea of ​​satellite messaging. Qualcomm and Iridium Satellite Corporation have built a working solution and integrated it into the Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, just to… zero Android manufacturers backed this feature, which led to the partnership being broken. If Google wants to power an Android phone via satellite SMS, it seems it will need to build the device itself.

Trusted leaker Kamila Wojciechowska on Robot body He says Google is working on doing just that. It looks like the Pixel 9 will have emergency satellite SOS. Since the launch of the Pixel 6, Pixel phones have become some of the rare devices that don't use Qualcomm modems. Google is teaming up with Samsung and building its Pixel Tensor chips on Samsung's Exynos chips, and that means using Samsung's own modems (usually pretty bad ones). Citing a source, Wojciechowska says the Pixel 9 will use the new exynos 5400 modem, Along with optional NTN (Non-Terrestrial Network) capabilities, allowing the phone to be “the first to support Android's native satellite implementation.” The initial service provider will be T-Mobile (just like the old days).

This step would make sense. The entire original goal of the Nexus/Pixel line was to give Google something to build Android on. By incorporating the latest hardware features into the next Pixel phone, Android gets a target to program and test on. Otherwise, we would have a chicken-and-egg problem where no one makes hardware because there is no software support, and no one makes software because there is no hardware to program to. Google does it all at once.

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As for who will operate T-Mobile's satellite network, the company has a high-profile partnership with SpaceX, but these are LTE towers in space and run on regular hardware with no special software (the last demo was on a regular batch of iPhones). The primary goal of an Android satellite app is to deal with traditional satellite issues such as targeting a distant satellite, compressing the message too much to actually reach the satellite, and dealing with unreliable connectivity. This isn't really relevant to the SpaceX partnership since it's trying to be a next-generation solution for “regular LTE in space,” designed around the world's largest network of rockets and satellites.

We're just speculating here, but a better target for a “current generation” system would be Skylo, which resells service from traditional satellite companies like Viasat and Inmarsat, so it would need all the routing and unreliable communication software. In a wild coincidence, Skylo actually did just that press release Saying that it has certified the Samsung Exynos Modem 5400 for use on its network. Skilo indeed He has a relationship With T-Mobile, the company operated the Motorola Satellite Link hotspot.