It’s no secret that Android is adding support for satellite connectivity, and that includes within Google Messages, where it seems Garmin will be a key partner in getting things up and running.
Google confirmed all the way back in September 2022 that Android 14 would bring official OS support for satellite connectivity, a feature pushed into the spotlight by the debut of Apple’s iPhone 14 series. However, Google has been rather quiet in the time since, though partners such as Qualcomm have been working on support.
Recently, new evidence has shown that Google Messages, the app used for RCS on Android devices, is adding support for satellite connectivity. That started with a screenshot earlier this month that showed the UI for what satellite messages may look like within the app which is, basically, just a message saying that you’re using a satellite service for messaging.
This week, Neil Rahmouni on Twitter/X has uncovered more information, with strings found within Google Messages that shows a message that seems to appear when satellite messaging comes to an end. The strings read:
Messaging by satellite has ended
For questions about your emergency, call Garmin Response at —-. To report a new emergency, call your local emergency number.
The brief quote mentions “Garmin Response,” suggesting that Google Messages will, in some form, use Garmin’s service to handle emergency SOS via satellite. Garmin’s network is used for “inReach” devices and is able to communicate with satellites to track a device as well as notify emergency responders. On a support page, Garmin notes that it supports 150 countries, which would maybe also apply to this new team-up with Google.
Garmin Response (formerly the GEOS IERCC and then the Garmin IERCC) has supported more than 10,000 inReach incident responses in more than 150 countries on all seven continents, likely saving many lives in the process. Based in the U.S. state of Texas, the Garmin Response team maintains a global database of local first responders, enabling them to quickly reach out to the most appropriate rescue service or other resources in time-critical emergency situations.
There’s currently no word on whether or not this support for over 150 countries could apply to Android devices, but it’s certainly a compelling idea. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.
More on Google Messages: