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Google Messages preparing to add support for emergency SOS over satellite

There's still no clarity on which devices will support satellite connectivity with Android 14.
By
August 18, 2023
snapdragon satellite positioning
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Google Messages app is preparing to let users send emergency SOS messages via satellite connectivity.
  • Placeholder elements for the service have appeared in the app.
  • Google has already confirmed that Android 14 will allow smartphones to connect with satellites.

Google Messages will soon let you send emergency SOS messages via satellite connectivity. As spotted by X (Twitter) user Neïl Rahmouni and reported by Mishaal Rahman, Google has begun adding the UI elements for emergency SOS via satellite in its Messages app.

Rahman notes the SOS activity is just a placeholder in the app for now. It doesn’t prove that the next Pixel phones or any other device will support satellite communication. However, it shows that Google is looking to place the service inside its messaging app rather than a completely new app.

Google has already announced that Android 14 will allow smartphones to connect with satellites directly. A similar satellite connectivity feature on current iPhones has helped save several lives, most recently during the unfortunate Hawaii wildfires.

Looks like Google Messages is indeed preparing to add support for Satellite Connectivity. They’ve added UIs for conversations and SOS messages using satellite connection: pic.twitter.com/IDxse7QNCw
— Neïl Rahmouni 🐢 (@neil_rahmouni) August 17, 2023

It makes sense for Google to integrate emergency SOS via satellite within the Google Messages app since it’s the default messaging app on most Android phones. However, it’s unclear which phones will support the feature and how Google will implement it. As Rahman noted in a previous post on X, satellite support on Android will depend on the modem hardware of your device. Not every device running Android 14 will be able to support satellite connectivity.

It is believed that both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 8 series have the hardware for satellite communication. However, they will need a significant firmware update to enable satellite connectivity.