It was rumored that Samsung would bring satellite connectivity for emergency communications to the Galaxy S23 series. However, when the company announced the Galaxy S23 series last night, there was no mention of satellite connectivity, even though the phones feature the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset that supports it.
In an interview with CNET, Samsung MX CEO TM Roh discussed satellite connectivity on smartphones for emergency communications. When asked about why the new Galaxy flagships don’t have the feature yet, TM Roh said, “when there is the right timing, infrastructure, and the technology [is] ready, then of course for Samsung Galaxy, for our mobile division, we would also actively consider adopting this feature as well.” In fact, he said he doesn’t believe that the feature “is the end-all or be-all of the solutions to ensure peace of mind among users.”
The infrastructure and ecosystem for emergency satellite connectivity on smartphones aren’t fully ready yet
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset can communicate with satellite systems for emergency messaging. The company partnered with Iridium for access to its weather-resilient L-band spectrum through a constellation of satellites. However, the feature will go live in the second half of 2023. Whether or not current Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 devices can access the upcoming feature hasn’t been clarified.
Qualcomm said that not all Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 devices could use the feature. Smartphones require a special hardware design to access satellite connectivity, and the Galaxy S23 series may or may not have the required hardware. It is confirmed that the feature can’t be enabled just through software. Moreover, Google hasn’t added native support for the feature into Android, and it will be introduced with the release of Android 14. So, it is possible that the Galaxy S23 didn’t get the feature because it isn’t ready yet.
Whatever the case is, Galaxy S23 series smartphones won’t be able to compete with the iPhone 14 lineup in this regard, and that will be a sore missing point from the phone’s specifications, especially to those who require off-grid communications from time to time. Samsung’s TM Roh said that the company spent time on other aspects that bring peace of mind to consumers, including improved security, better sensors, and a wider 5G coverage.
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