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Pixel 9 satellite messaging detailed in new report

Earlier this month early developer versions of Android 15 unearthed evidence Google might be offering satellite connectivity for emergency situations.

However, that’d require specialist modem hardware via the phone running Android 15 to make that happen. Now a new report from Android Authority may have confirmed the Pixel 9 series and next-gen Pixel Fold will be the first phones to benefit from the technology.

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The new report says the Tensor G4 series of processors will include a modem that supports satellite connectivity. It’s the Samsung Modem 5400, according to the reporter’s sources.

That’ll bring support for 5G non-terrestrial networks, i.e. the ability to communicate with satellites. Pixel 9 and Pixel Fold 2 owners will need to be on the T-Mobile network in the US to access the service out of the gate, with other carriers added thereafter.

The report says the feature will allow for texting, but not calling. It appears as if it’ll work in the same way as Apple’s Emergency SOS feature that asks people in emergency situations questions, the short answers to which will allow information to be carried in very small data packets.

The report says those questions will include prompts like:

What happened?
[Are you/Are they/Is everyone] breathing?
In total, how many people are [missing/trapped]?
What best describes your situation?
What is on fire?
Are there weapons involved?
What type of vehicle or vessel?
Do any of these apply?

Android Authority

The report also includes information on how users connect to the satellite, so it seems this is almost certainly happening and it’ll be interesting to see how Google presents the feature when the Pixel 9 and Pixel Fold 2 arrive this year.

Given the iPhone 14 models offered Emergency SOS back in 2022, it’s about time Google pulled its finger out in this regard.

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