Satellite connectivity is one of the “next big things” in smartphones following Apple’s debut of the feature in its iPhone 14 series last year. Now, Samsung is throwing its hat in the ring, with two-way satellite connectivity in smartphones powered by the modem that happens to be in Google’s Pixel 7.

Announced in a press release, Samsung’s take on satellite connectivity differs from that of Apple’s in a major way. Where iPhone users are only able to use the functionality to send limited messages, Samsung’s offering will allow for full messages, as well as a future where pictures and even videos can be sent.

The technology uses 5G NTN (non-terrestrial networks) to communicate, sending data from your smartphone to satellites before bringing that information back down to ground stations. From there, it can be passed on to emergency services, or simply to the recipient you had in mind.

To offer a proof of concept, Samsung “developed and simulated 5G NTN standard-based satellite technology” on top of its Exynos 5300 modem, the same modem used in Google’s Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. That doesn’t mean Google’s phones are suddenly capable of satellite connectivity, though, as Samsung says it intends to build this functionality into future versions of its Exynos modems.

Related: Google Tensor G2: How has the signal strength and speed improved on Pixel 7?

Notably, Samsung said earlier this month that it was waiting on bringing satellite connectivity to its own smartphones until the technology was ready. The timing of this Exynos announcement is certainly not quite ideal for Samsung’s own smartphones, especially as Galaxy flagships move to solely using Qualcomm chips on a global scale. Qualcomm announced its own form of satellite connectivity earlier this year, but it’s not yet live on any devices.

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Ben Schoon

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