Thursday, 28 September 2023
TechCompeting with the iPhone, Google Creates a Satellite SOS Service on Android

Competing with the iPhone, Google Creates a Satellite SOS Service on Android


Google is reportedly working on a satellite SOS feature for the Google Messages service. This service allows users to send emergency service messages from remote areas that are far from the reach of conventional cellular signals.

As discovered by developer Neïl Rahmouni, early code in the Google Messages app suggests integration with Garmin and the Garmin Response emergency service. Google also seems to have started working on a UI for sending messages to emergency responders.

Garmin’s emergency services use a network of Iridium satellites, which Iridium says are capable of transmitting signals “anywhere on Earth.” However, there are things you need to pay attention to when using the satellite SOS service from Garmin, where this service requires a subscription of USD 15 per month on the Garmin device itself.

So, while this is a nice feature to have on a phone, users may have to continue paying for access if they feel they need it as reported detiKINET from The Verge.

Apple rolled out an emergency SOS message on the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro last year. The feature directs users to point their phone toward a satellite to get a connection, then lets them send a series of pre-written emergency responses, such as that they’re having vehicle problems or are stuck.

Apple has made the service free for two years, with the implication that users will eventually have to pay. The company hasn’t announced how much it will cost, and it’s still over a year before the first free trial ends.

Rahmouni speculates that Google’s services could be available in more than 150 countries. While this is possible based on Iridium’s network coverage, Apple’s service is currently only offered in 14 countries and not all locations can be reached by its satellite provider, Globalstar. So, it’s not a sure thing that Google’s version will roll out globally.

Google isn’t alone in bringing satellite services to Android. Qualcomm is also working to add support for SOS messages through Iridium with a service called Snapdragon Satellite.

Qualcomm Services also works closely with Garmin Response. The company said in February that Honor, Motorola, Nothing, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi are currently working on phones with hardware that supports the feature.

It’s possible that what we see in Google Messages is just the UI for Snapdragon Satellite-enabled phones. But Google separately said that they are working to support satellite internet service on Android 14.

And if satellite SOS services were to be offered across Pixel or Samsung phones, not all of which use Qualcomm processors, then Google would need to develop its own infrastructure to support this emergency technology.

Watch Video “Hands-on: Luxury Multisport GPS Smartwatch Made by Garmin
[Gambas:Video 20detik]


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