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Could OnePlus be launching a satellite edition phone? (APK teardown)

Strings within the latest Android 15 Beta on the OnePlus 12 indicate that the company is certainly interested in one.
By

Published onMay 21, 2024

Top down view of OnePlus 12 and OnePlus 12R
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Strings within the latest Android 15 Beta preview for the OnePlus 12 include a reference to a satellite mobile phone.
  • This indicates that the company is interested in a smartphone with satellite connectivity features, though it could be restricted to China.

Apple can be credited with igniting mainstream interest in smartphone satellite connectivity with the launch of the feature on the iPhone 14 series. Even though Apple has had this for over one and a half years, the adoption of smartphone satellite connectivity has been surprisingly weak on Android flagships launched outside of China. This could be changing in the future, as we’ve spotted some hints that OnePlus could be looking to bring satellite connectivity to a future smartphone.

Trusted smartphone enthusiast 1NormalUsername spotted some interesting strings in the Settings app present on the latest Android 15 Beta release on the OnePlus 12:

Code
<string name="oplus_authentication_model_new_name_satellite">"Satellite mobile phone   Made in China   OnePlus Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.   Model: %s"</string>

As you can see, the string mentions OnePlus’s company name in the same breath as “Satellite mobile phone” and is part of the _satellite fragment of the string file. While the string does not explicitly say that OnePlus is working on a satellite edition phone, it does point in that direction.

One can argue that the string could be a carryover from OPPO’s Color OS base, as both Oxygen OS and Color OS share the same base. OPPO released the Find X7 Ultra Satellite Edition in China some weeks ago, so this is certainly plausible. However, the corresponding string in the Settings app present on the latest Android 15 Beta release for OPPO Find N3 has OPPO’s company name mentioned:

Code
<string name="oplus_authentication_model_new_name_satellite">"Satellite mobile phone   Made in China   Guangdong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications Corp., Ltd.   Model: %s"</string>

The swap of company names in Color OS and Oxygen OS indicates a conscious alteration rather than a carryover mistake from their shared codebase.

As mentioned, Android smartphones with satellite connectivity features have been restricted to China. There is a chance that if OnePlus is working on a smartphone with satellite connectivity features, it could remain restricted to China. But since Android 15 comes with support for smartphone satellite connectivity, there is also a possibility that more OEMs beyond Google are considering launching the feature in global markets.

Do you care for satellite connectivity on your phones?

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Do you want satellite connectivity on your next smartphone? Are you willing to pay a premium for the feature? Let us know in the comments below!

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