Google is reportedly working with Garmin, a GPS navigation and wearable tech company, to bring two-way satellite texting to Google Messages. The satellite texting feature will allow users to send emergency SOS texts as well as enable location sharing via satellite on Android according to researchers.
Spotted by developer Neïl Rahmouni and shared on X (fka Twitter), Google may collaborate with Garmin Response to offer emergency SOS in Messages. This partnership will allow Google to exploit Garmin’s already set up SOS and rescue operations infrastructure across the world.
While Google has already confirmed satellite connectivity will be coming in Android 14, it is important to note that the feature support will heavily rely on the hardware equipped on your device.
Hiroshi Lockheimer, a Senior Vice President at Google, announced satellite support for Android 14 last year stating, “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!” However, there have been no comments on the hardware required for the feature to work since then.
After this announcement, Apple released the iPhone 14 and announced satellite connectivity with a feature called “Emergency SOS via satellite”. The feature allows iPhone 14 users to connect with emergency responders when stuck or lost in areas with no cellular or WIFI coverage. The feature started rolling out to users in November last year.
While the Emergency SOS via satellite feature on iPhone 14 devices is only available in the U.S. and select European countries currently, Google’s partnership with Garmin could mean the feature will be available in over 150 countries once launched. However, Neïl Rahmouni further points out that this partnership is still “subject to change”
Google is yet to announce the feature’s release date or devices.