Google’s Pixel 9 Series: Revolutionizing Connectivity with Satellite Integration

Google's Pixel 9 Series

Google’s Upcoming Pixel 9 Series to Feature Enhanced Modem for Satellite Communication

As Google gears up for the launch of its highly anticipated Pixel 9 series later this year, the tech giant is introducing a groundbreaking addition that might not be on every smartphone owner’s radar: a new modem.

According to insights from a Google insider reported by Android Authority, the Pixel 9 lineup is set to incorporate the Samsung Modem 5400, bringing forth support for 5G non-terrestrial networks (NTN). This advancement will enable Pixel 9 users to establish communication with satellites, unlocking the capability to transmit emergency messages in remote areas and cellular dead zones.

The integration of the Samsung Modem 5400 paves the way for an array of functionalities, including the ability to notify emergency contacts and reach out to emergency services when necessary. Initially, this service will be facilitated by T-Mobile as part of SpaceX’s innovative “direct to cell” Starlink service. Although the initial rollout is expected to support text messages exclusively, SpaceX has recently received FCC clearance to expand cellular Starlink testing across several US states and globally.

Recent successful tests conducted by SpaceX in early March demonstrated the compatibility of its cellular Starlink service with various smartphone models, including those from the Galaxy, iPhone, and Pixel series. The Pixel 9’s emergency texting feature is poised to operate through specific prompts, streamlining communication with emergency services and expediting the assistance process—a functionality reminiscent of Apple’s Emergency SOS feature for iPhones.

In a strategic move to advance satellite connectivity on Android devices, Google announced its collaboration with AST SpaceMobile in February. As part of this initiative, Google, along with mobile carriers AT&T and Vodafone, invested $110 million in AST SpaceMobile. The company is pioneering the deployment of orbiting cell towers in space, albeit with varying degrees of success.

Furthermore, the second developer preview of Android 15 recently extended support for satellite roaming. Dave Burke, Google’s Engineering VP, highlighted that this release introduces user interface enhancements to ensure a seamless experience across satellite connectivity platforms. Additionally, satellite-connectivity support has been extended to both native and third-party messaging applications, underscoring Google’s commitment to advancing satellite communication technology on Android devices.

As anticipation builds for the launch of the Pixel 9 series, Google’s strategic investments and technological advancements signal a new era of satellite-enabled connectivity in the smartphone landscape.

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