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The Google Pixel 9 and Fold 2 might save your life one day

According to a new report, the next generation of Google hardware could support potentially life-saving emergency satellite messaging.

Custom image for Google Pixel satellite connectivity news with a Pixel 8 Pro on a purple background

We’re expecting Google’s next generation of mobile hardware to land around October this year, and in the lead-up, the rumors are coming thick and fast. One of the more interesting rumors surrounds the possibility of Google Pixel satellite connectivity, a vital inclusion for any intrepid explorers out there.

A new report from 9to5Google claims that some upcoming Google Pixel phones and tablets, including the Pixel 9 series, Pixel Fold 2, and Pixel Tablet 2, are getting an upgraded Samsung modem that supports satellite connectivity. Emergency satellite connection has been a hot topic since Apple introduced it with the iPhone 14 series, and we’re starting to see it arrive on more Android handsets. A special edition of the Oppo Find X7 Ultra with satellite connectivity just launched in China, for example.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, satellite connectivity essentially allows you to send emergency SMS messages when you’re in an area with no cellular service. On a day-to-day basis, it’s not the most exciting potential Google Pixel feature, it’s slow and has limited functionality, but it could save your life in an emergency, and that’s the whole point.

The latest report claims that Google’s upcoming devices will feature a new modem, which comes packaged as part of the Tensor G4 SoC. Like previous generations, it’s still made by Samsung but carries the signifier 5400, rather than 5300.

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This new modem supports the 3GPP Rel.17 5G spec, which includes satellite connectivity, and according to the report, satellite-enabled pixel devices will use a Satellite Gateway app to be able to send SOS emergency messages. Rather than typing out a message, you will reportedly receive some basic questions to answer about your emergency, some of which will have multiple-choice answers.

Beyond that, we don’t know too much about this new modem, but presumably, it will offer improved connectivity for more traditional cellular services like 4G and 5G. This rumor also supports the notion that a 5G-enabled Pixel Tablet is in the works, exciting news for anyone itching to take their Pixel Tablet on the road.

We’re certain that we’ll be hearing much more about Google’s upcoming devices in the next few months, but in the meantime, check out our guide to the best flip phones and best foldable phones. Or, if you’re more interested in Apple’s hardware, see our iPhone 16 hub for all the latest leaks and rumors.