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Google may partner with Garmin on satellite texting for Android 14

Google has previously confirmed that texting via satellite link will be an option in Android 14, and a new leak based on hidden code snippets suggests Garmin will help make this a reality.

Developer Neil Rahmouni (through Sam Mobile) located the as-yet unused snippets in question, which mention a “Garmin Response” option for users who want to get support with their satellite SMS within Google Messages.

Rahmouni previously reported that satellite connectivity would be coming to Google Messages, which is the default SMS application for Android. However, the developer himself warns that at this point “everything is subject to change”.

Garmin already has several products on the market with satellite communication capabilities. The company uses the Iridium satellite network, so it would appear that Android will leverage the same system for its own functionality.

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As we’ve already seen with the iPhone 14, satellite connectivity on a smartphone isn’t designed for streaming 4K video, at least not yet. It’s there to send emergency messages if you can’t connect to a standard cellular network.

Nearly a year ago, Android senior vice president Hiroshi Lockheimer said the feature would be available on Android this year. It’s not in any of the early beta releases, but it looks almost ready.

Garmin’s existing network covers more than 150 countries, so presumably Android 14 would do the same. You’ll need a phone with a satellite modem in it, something not many have right now, as the feature hasn’t been activated yet.

Phones like the Google Pixel 8 and Samsung Galaxy S24 are expected to come to market with both the hardware and software needed for satellite communications, which could be provided courtesy of Garmin.

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