Why Satellite Features Aren’t Standard Despite Rising Popularity from iPhone to Pixel

What you should know

  • Android 15 is rumored to include satellite connectivity features, allowing location updates every 15 minutes up to five times a day, which could be especially useful for users in remote areas without cellular connectivity.
  • Satellite communication technology has evolved from its early, bulky, and expensive form to being integrated into consumer smartphones, with companies like Apple and Huawei already introducing satellite features in their devices.
  • The integration of satellite connectivity in smartphones faces challenges such as the need for additional hardware, increased power consumption, and a lack of clear market demand outside of emergency use cases.
  • Despite these challenges, the potential for satellite connectivity to enhance global connectivity and safety measures in remote areas is significant, with Google’s rumored updates to Android 15 and Google Maps indicating a growing interest in this technology.

Full Story

Oh, the buzz around Android 15 is getting louder by the minute. It’s all about satellite connectivity this time. Every new leak hints at cool new features we’ve never seen before. And guess what? The OS is set to debut later this year.

Imagine being able to get location updates every 15 minutes, up to five times a day. Perfect for those wild adventures where there’s no cell service in sight. We might even get the full scoop at Google I/O on May 14. But, there’s a chance Google might wait until October to spill the beans, coinciding with the Pixel 9 launch. That actually makes a ton of sense, especially if special hardware is needed.

Ever stopped to wonder why satellite features aren’t a thing on all smartphones yet? What’s the big holdup? Let’s dive in.

From Sputnik to smartphones, satellite communication has come a long way. Remember when it was as clunky and expensive as a fridge? Not exactly something you could slip into your pocket. In the early days, satellite communication meant huge antennas and was mostly for the military or live TV broadcasts. Remember Syncom 3 in 1964? It broadcasted the Tokyo Olympics live, showing off what satellites could do.

Then the ’90s hit, and Motorola introduced Iridium, the first global satellite communications system. But, to use it, you needed a phone as big as a brick. Despite that, satellite phones have been around, offering a lifeline for those venturing into the unknown.

Fast forward to 2022, and satellite connectivity started getting trendy, all thanks to Apple. They launched the iPhone 14 series with the ability to send SOS messages from anywhere. Suddenly, satellite features were popping up in smartphones, like Huawei’s Mate 60 Pro supporting satellite calls.

Google’s not far behind, planning to add satellite features to Android 15 and Google Maps. With companies like SpaceX launching constellations for wider coverage, it’s a wonder why satellite connectivity isn’t standard yet.

So, why the hesitation? For starters, satellite communication needs extra hardware, which could make phones more expensive and bulkier. Most of us live in cities, surrounded by cell towers, making satellite features a luxury rather than a necessity.

Apple might have dipped its toes in with basic satellite features, but the Android camp has faced challenges. Qualcomm’s collaboration with Iridium for Snapdragon Satellite hit a roadblock due to industry disinterest. No smartphone maker wanted to jump on board.

The reasons? Cost, power consumption, and market need. Adding satellite hardware could make phones pricier and drain the battery faster. Unless there’s a clear demand, manufacturers might not see the point.

Yet, satellite connectivity has potential. It could enhance global connectivity and safety in remote areas. As the tech matures, it might become more common.

And with all the leaks about Android 15, it’s only a matter of time before we see more satellite features. Personally, I’m all for it. The idea of being able to share my location, make calls, or send texts without a cell connection is pretty comforting. In 2024, with everyone glued to 5G or Wi-Fi, having a satellite backup seems like a smart move, don’t you think?

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynnhttps://www.phonesinsights.com
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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