- Samsung’s new modem technology enables two-way messaging, as well as image and video sharing.
- Samsung plans to include the technology in its Exynos mobile processors, hinting that the system may be brought to its Galaxy smartphones.
- It comes after Apple launched its iPhone 14 with a feature that allows users to alert emergency services via satellite.
A Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra smartphone.
Seong Joon Cho | Bloomberg via Getty Images
Samsung said Thursday it has developed a system that allows smartphone users to send data via satellite, intensifying the race among tech companies to connect phones to non-terrestrial networks.
New modem technology from the South Korean consumer electronics giant enables two-way messaging, as well as image and video sharing. The data is sent to low-Earth orbit satellites in space and sent back to Earth stations before reaching end users.
Samsung has not yet launched its satellite capabilities. However, the company said it plans to include the technology in its Exynos mobile processors, hinting at a move to bring the system to its Galaxy smartphones.
Samsung launched its flagship Galaxy S23 smartphone range without a satellite connection this month.
The move comes not long after Apple announced the launch of its iPhone 14 with a feature that allows users to alert emergency services by pointing their phones at a satellite in space and choosing from a range of issues facing them.
Satellite phones are not yet commercially accepted technology. However, device manufacturers are gambling on the untapped opportunity of putting satellite phones into the hands of people in remote areas beyond the reach of terrestrial telecom infrastructure.
“With Samsung joining the party, emergency satellite messaging on premium smartphones is becoming a standard feature,” Ben Wood, principal analyst at CCS Insight, told CNBC.
“This underscores the tremendous influence Apple has on feature adoption. For new technology like this, where Apple is going, others will follow.”
Following the launch of Apple’s iPhone 14 in September, US semiconductor giant Qualcomm signed a deal with satellite communications company Iridium to bring satellite-enabled chips to Android phones. MediaTek, the Taiwanese chip manufacturing company, is expected to showcase its own mobile satellite technology at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.
Samsung said its technology complied with the standards of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, meaning it will “ensure interoperability and scalability between services offered by global telecom providers, mobile device manufacturers and chip companies.”
The device will also “eliminate the need for a separate high-power wireless antenna chip in smartphones,” Samsung said. Satellite phones have been in the making for decades, but haven’t really taken off since they usually require huge antennas integrated directly into the device.
WATCH: Apple is announcing Emergency SOS via Satellite at its September event