It was long rumored that Samsung would equip its Galaxy S23 phones with a satellite connectivity system. But the new flagships debuted a couple of days back without the rumored feature. The company’s head of mobile business has now revealed what happened.
In an interview with CNET, Samsung president TM Roh said that the company does plan to bring satellite connectivity to its Galaxy smartphones. However, the Korean behemoth believes it’s still too early for that. The technology isn’t yet “ready” for prime time. In its current form, satellite connectivity for smartphones is a little gimmicky with limited functionality.
“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,” Roh said. Earlier reports said that Samsung is working on a more usable satellite communication system than what Huawei’s Mate 50 Pro series and Apple’s iPhone 14 series boast. The former allows sending and receiving of short text messages and emergency communication, while the latter limits the usage to emergency rescue requests with pre-set messages.
The Korean firm, on the other hand, plans to enable the transmission of regular text messages and small-size images along with emergency communication via satellites. It has been reportedly working with Virginia-based satellite communication company Iridium Communications on the tech for more than two years now. Unfortunately, Samsung couldn’t make its satellite tech ready in time for the Galaxy S23 series. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset that powers the phones already supports the feature. So the new Galaxy flagships may still get satellite connectivity in the future.
Samsung doesn’t see satellite connectivity as a critical feature for smartphones
While Samsung is working on satellite connectivity for Galaxy smartphones, the company doesn’t see it as a critical feature. Roh says it is just one way to enable emergency communication and give users a sense of security. Galaxy devices already come equipped with several other sensors and technologies designed to keep users safe.
“I do not believe that is the end-all or be-all of the solutions to ensure peace of mind among users,” Roh said about satellite connectivity for smartphones. He pointed to improved sensors and broadening 5G coverage as existing solutions. This may be a bit odd statement from the Samsung executive, considering that search and rescue teams have already labeled satellite connectivity for smartphones as a “game changer”. We hope Samsung wouldn’t take much longer to introduce its version of the technology.
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