The next version of the Android operating system will support direct satellite connections, says a senior executive at Google.
“Wild to think about user experiences for phones that can connect to satellites. When we launched G1 in ’08 it was a stretch to get 3G + Wifi working. Now we’re designing for satellites. Cool! Excited to support our partners in enabling all of this in the next version of Android,” said Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president of platforms and ecosystems at Google.
This is enabled by Release 17 from the 3GPP standards group that supports 5G satellite connections as well as key technology development from European companies.
Several groups are planning to launch constellations of satellites in low earth orbit to support direct connection to 5G phones. This is a key opportunity for European technology companies, with companies such as Nokia and Ericsson supplying infrastructure and ASIC and IP companies in the region providing vital design blocks as well as antenna technology.
Last week SpaceX and T-Mobile announced that they would support basic data services to 5G handsets, although this requires the second generation of SpaceLink satellites with larger antennas which have yet to launch.
Semtech has also enabled a more robust modulation scheme called LR-HSS to allow LoRa systems to directly access one of several constellations of LEO satellites.
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