What you need to know
- Samsung has announced its own challenger to Apple's satellite connectivity for smartphones.
- The new modem technology promises to be different from Apple's offering by supporting two-way text messaging and the sharing of photos and videos.
- Samsung will incorporate the satellite connectivity system into future Exynos modems.
After Apple's announcement of satellite connectivity support in the iPhone 14 series, a handful of companies, including Qualcomm, rushed to bring similar technology to Android phones. Samsung is the most recent Android OEM to introduce its own solution for connecting smartphones to satellites.
The South Korean tech behemoth has announced that future Exynos modems will support two-way text messaging as well as sharing of high-definition images and videos via satellite. Samsung demonstrated the concept with its Exynos Modem 5300 modem, which is also found in Google's Pixel 7 series.
Samsung's own satellite-based smartphone communication aims to surpass Apple’s Emergency SOS by using satellites and other non-terrestrial vehicles to beam connectivity to remote locations like mountains, deserts, and oceans where traditional solutions are limited. Meanwhile, Apple's satellite connectivity for the iPhone 14 series is limited to sending text messages.
The company says that it has acquired standardized 5G non-terrestrial networks (NTN) modem technology to allow for direct communication between smartphones and satellites in far-flung areas.
Samsung's latest flagship phones, the Galaxy S23 series, lack support for satellite connectivity. That said, the latest and greatest Samsung phones ship with hardware that supports Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon Satellite solution. The semiconductor giant has partnered with satellite network provider Iridium to introduce satellite connectivity to future Android phones, though the technology is still in its early stages and can only support two-way messaging.
In addition to smartphone communication, Samsung envisions its satellite connectivity solution to aid in disaster relief operations and power unmanned aircraft and flying cars in the future.
Samsung hasn't said when the solution will be made available to the public or which phones will be equipped with it. Whatever the case may be, satellite connectivity appears to be the next big thing in smartphone communication.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.