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Here's why Samsung skipped satellite connectivity on the Galaxy S23 series

The feature might never make it to this generation of Galaxy S flagships.

Published onFebruary 2, 2023

Apple Emergency SOS via satellite field
  • Samsung’s mobile chief TM Roh has explained why the Galaxy S23 series is missing satellite connectivity.
  • The executive said that the functionality of the tech is fairly limited and that the right infrastructure is not in place.

Samsung has finally launched the Galaxy S23 series, and it’s missing one key upgrade everyone was expecting — satellite connectivity. Apple’s satellite solution is already saving lives, and with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Satellite tech in place, it should have been a no-brainer for Samsung to add satellite connectivity to the Galaxy S23 series. Alas, the feature didn’t make it and we now have Samsung on record telling us why.

In an interview with CNET, the President and Head of Samsung’s Mobile Experience Business, TM Roh, admitted that there is interest and promise in bringing satellite connectivity to phones. However, he said that it’s too soon to do so as the functionality is fairly limited.

Satellite connectivity is not the end-all or be-all solution to ensure peace of mind among users.TM Roh, Samsung

“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,” he said.

Roh also explained that while satellite connectivity is one way to make smartphones better at helping people in emergency situations, it is not “the end-all or be-all of the solution to ensure peace of mind among users.” He said Samsung has made other efforts in security, improving sensors, and broadening 5G coverage.

Lack of satellite connectivity: An excuse or a waiting game?

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra S Pen on table
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

It’s strange why Samsung would feel the tech isn’t ready for its mainstream smartphones. Qualcomm’s solution is based on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and enables two-way satellite-based messaging for premium Android phones. The Galaxy S23 series surely makes the cut, especially since it gets a beefed-up version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip.

The reason for the missing satellite connectivity on the Galaxy S23 series may be something else entirely.

That said, the reason for the missing satellite connectivity on the Galaxy S23 series may be something else entirely. At the time of the announcement of Snapdragon Sattelite, Qualcomm had explicitly said that not all phones with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will support the feature. The chipmaker had said that phones must be built to specifically support the service and that it cannot be added on as an over-the-air update.

Did you really want satellite connectivity on the Galaxy S23 series?

757 votes

Samsung probably didn’t design the Galaxy S23 phones with satellite connectivity in mind. Qualcomm had also said that smartphones equipped with Snapdragon Satellite will launch in the second half of 2023. Maybe the company is still making the final touches to its tech before it is confident of rolling it out to partner OEMs like Samsung. It’s highly possible Samsung is reserving the feature for the Galaxy Z Fold 5 or Z Flip 5.

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