Samsung’s Galaxy S23 The lineup lacks satellite connectivity, but it looks like that’s about to change for future smartphones. The tech giant announced on Thursday that it has sourced technology to enable direct communication between smartphones and satellites. The technology will be built into Samsung’s Exynos modems and enable calls and emergency assistance, separating it from Apple’s current offering.
The debut comes after various tech giants and wireless carriers, including Apple, Qualcomm and T Mobile, have announced plans to bring satellite connectivity to smartphones. Such a satellite connection is missing from the new Galaxy S23, although the phones include the necessary hardware for the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon satellite Service.
The announcement shows that Samsung plans to offer its own approach, which has become one of the biggest trends in the mobile industry in 2023. According to the company’s press release, the system will use satellites and other non-terrestrial vehicles to bring smartphone connectivity to remote areas like deserts, mountains and oceans. Samsung also says this technology could one day be used for disaster relief efforts and to power autonomous airplanes and flying cars. Future phones with Exynos modems equipped with Samsung’s satellite technology will support two-way text messaging and the ability to share photos and videos.
Samsung hasn’t said when the satellite connection will arrive on its phones or which devices will support it.
Samsung’s approach seems different from the current version Apple’s emergency satellite connection, which is available in the iPhone 14 range. Instead of initiating a two-way conversation, the user answers prompts on their iPhone to share important details with the emergency dispatcher. Qualcomm also announced the Snapdragon satellite system at CES in January, which will leverage Iridium’s fleet of satellites to enable emergency communications and eventually two-way texting.
Both Apple and Qualcomm plan to eventually monetize their satellite services in different ways. Apple charges fees for the service after two years, while Qualcomm will offer a premium option to send satellite-based texts for non-emergency scenarios. It’s unclear if Samsung will charge for its satellite connectivity offering.
The announcement comes after TM Roh, president and head of Samsung’s mobile experience business, said current satellite options are too limited when it comes to the Galaxy S23’s lack of satellite support with CNET.
“If there is the right timing, the right infrastructure and the technology [is] ready, then of course for Samsung Galaxy, for our mobile division we would also actively consider taking on this role as well,” he said ahead of the company’s Unpacked event earlier this month.