Space may become the next frontier for smartphone innovation and technologies.
- “The decades-old satellite industry is setting its sights on a target that until lately looked unreachable: the everyday smartphone,” says The Wall Street Journal.
- As we previously reported, Apple has signed a deal with Globalstar to allow satellite connectivity to its phones starting this November.
- Startups and corporations are starting to see potential in satellite technology that can provide connectivity to phones and other devices.
- “Among their most ambitious long-term goals, which some industry executives call far-fetched, is a fifth-generation mobile internet connection that glides seamlessly between cellphone towers near civilization and satellite beams out in the sticks,” says The Wall Street Journal.
- “Startups including AST SpaceMobile Inc., Omnispace LLC, and Lynk Global Inc. are launching new businesses targeting the mobile-device opportunity.”
The aspiration for next-gen mobile internet connectivity is massive but there is already proof that such technologies can work. SpaceX and Starlink have proven that satellite technology can provide connectivity and service.
As we previously reported, Starlink has been preparing to test providing 2 to 4 megabits per second of bandwidth to areas outside of cell range, and the technology has already been provided in relief efforts following the War in Ukraine and Hurricane Ian.
“Starlink already provides broadband internet access to customers in homes, boats, and recreational vehicles. That service requires users to install a pizza box-sized dish with a view of the sky to connect,” says The Wall Street Journal.
In terms of expansion though, the technology isn’t where it needs to be yet. The average smartphone doesn’t have the components for this kind of connectivity.
Apple’s SOS emergency feature functions as an emergency beacon and isn’t comprehensive enough to provide widespread coverage of phone and internet connectivity.
“Today’s satellite phones demand big battery packs powering large antennas to reach their targets in the sky. Companies will need more-powerful smartphones, more-sensitive satellites, or a combination of both to make high-speed data from space fit into a regular consumer’s palm,” says The Wall Street Journal.
“I’m personally a bit of a skeptic. [It is] not a service that the public will see for at least a few years,” says Iridium CEO Matt Desch.