Google Messages With Satellite Support May Be On its Way Via Garmin




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After Apple unveiled its satellite-based Emergency SOS capability on the iPhone 14 last year, it wouldn’t be long before Google followed suit. The company said earlier in the year that its next version of Android would support satellite capability, and now we may know at least one place where it’ll play a role.

Eagle-eyed developer Neil Rahmouni spotted a line of code in the latest version of Google Messages with references to “messaging by satellite ended,” and a direction to send questions to Garmin Response. He posted a tweet about the finding (via SamMobile).

The discovery suggests satellite capabilities are coming to Google Messages, one of the core Android services. It’s unclear if other aspects of Android would also support satellite service, which opens up the potential coverage area to anywhere where you can get access to the open sky.

Apple touted the service last year as a failsafe in case you need to send a message in dead zones like the wilderness of large bodies of water — areas that cell towers can’t reach. Shortly after, Huawei launched a similar feature in what was believed to be a new trend in smartphones.

That’s stalled a bit, but Google could be bringing more attention to satellite-based services in the coming months.

Garmin, best known for its older GPS navigation devices and smartwatches, also offers products that allow for emergency communications via a partnership with Iridium and its network of low-Earth orbit satellites. The technology works similar to SpaceX’s own constellation of low-orbit satellites that power its Starlink service and its partnership with T-Mobile.

Spokesmen for Google and Garmin weren’t immediately available to comment on the tweet.

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