While I doubt it’ll be the final frontier in the smartphone arms race, space appears to be the place where mobile chip makers are hoping to differentiate themselves at the moment. Last year Apple launched the first mainstream smartphones that could connect to satellite services to send messages in an emergency. And in the following months MediaTek and Qualcomm unveiled their own solutions for smartphone-to-satellite communications.

Now Samsung says it also plans to incorporate satellite communications into upcoming Exynos-branded modem solutions.

Like MediaTek and Qualcomm, Samsung is promising that its 5G NTN (non-terrestrial network) solution enables two-way text messaging when you’re in a location where terrestrial cellular service may not be available.

That could help you contact emergency services or just stay in touch with your contacts when you’re off-grid in mountains, deserts, oceans, or other places where normal service cannot reach. Samsung notes that it could also be used to help in relief efforts in disaster areas.

The company says its technology could also be used to send and receive “high-definition image and video” content, although there’s no mention of real-time voice or video calls over satellite, so I’d expect that it could take a while to send and receive media.

Looking further into the future, Samsung says the service could also be used in “future urban air mobility (UAM) such as unmanned aircraft and flying cars.”

There’s no word on if or when you’ll be able to buy phones or other devices with Samsung’s 5G NTN solution, but the company says it’s coming to “future Exynos modems,” and that the technology has been tested using the Exynos Modem 5300 reference platform.

press release

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One reply on “Samsung hops on the smartphone-to-satellite bandwagon”

  1. Would it be too much to ask that existing instant messaging applications be able to use these satellite network so I don’t have to switch to something else every time I want to talk to someone who insists “my texting app” has to have satellite connectivity and that there can be only one “my texting app”?
    History suggests it absolutely would.

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