Tech's next big thing?

Satellite internet

4/24/20232 min read

a black and white photo of a satellite dish on a roof
a black and white photo of a satellite dish on a roof

The next version of Android, code-named "Android 14", will support satellite connectivity. This means that users can access the internet or cellphone service via satellite, which could be a boon for rural areas and other places where traditional internet access or cellphone service is unavailable or unreliable. According to reports, Apple is also working on getting satellite connectivity for its devices.

It's not clear yet how this feature will work or what devices it will be available on, but one thing is for sure: Earth will be blanketed by satellite constellations competing to provide cellphone services.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch the BlueWalker 3 satellite on September 10. The large, 64-square-meter solar array on the spacecraft is designed to provide a cellular broadband signal that mobile phones can connect to directly. However, astronomers worry that the bright reflective surfaces of the satellites will interfere with telescopes trying to view distant objects in space. In addition, the moving satellites will create streaks of light in long-exposure images, making it difficult to study faint astronomical objects. However, BlueWalker says that they are working with astronomers to mitigate these concerns.

One thing is for sure, the tech world's biggest players along with regional cellphone service providers, are all getting into a satellite war. SpaceX has StarLink, Facebook has Aquila, Google has Project Loon, and now Amazon has Kuiper. It seems like everyone wants a piece of the (literal) pie when it comes to providing internet access from space.

But what's driving this sudden interest in satellites? Part of it is likely the growing demand for high-speed internet access worldwide. But another part of it may be the competitive nature of the tech industry. After all, if Facebook can provide internet access to remote areas, that's one less customer for Google. And if Amazon can deliver packages via drone faster than UPS, that's one less package delivery company it has to compete with.

In any case, the satellite wars are heating up, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. All this reminds me of a James Bond movie