Last September, Apple introduced an emergency SOS service via satellite communications with the iPhone 14. Like the company’s crash detection, it’s not what you’d call an everyday feature, but one that you’d be very happy to have if you ever needed it, allowing you to send distress messages at Emergency situations in areas where there is no cellular signal.
Now it looks like Samsung will be in action with the upcoming Galaxy S23. According to the Korean site ET News (Opens in a new tab)Samsung will collaborate with Iridium Communications and its 66 low-orbit satellites to provide another similar emergency communication.
As with the iPhone 14, using satellite communications will not be the same as calling over your regular network. Just as Apple only allows emergency SOS text messaging and location sharing via the Find My app, Samsung’s app will be limited to SMS and low-resolution photo sharing. The latter is, most likely, to help pinpoint your exact location by sharing images of identifiable sights you can see nearby.
Why this limited application? Well, it’s a trade-off between design and functionality. To include high-speed voice and satellite data, Samsung will need to make room for a much larger antenna, which could completely change the phone’s design. For a feature that only a small minority of people will ever need, that seems unnecessary — especially when an emergency SMS could accomplish the same goal.
The iPhone 14’s satellite emergency SOS functionality began rolling out to US and Canadian users earlier this month, and so far there have been no reports of lives being saved using it. It’s early days, though, and there are other passive health and safety features like irregular heart detection for the Apple Watch and iPhone 14 fault detection. Already proven real lifesaver (Opens in a new tab) (Even if the latter is currently experiencing a rollercoaster).
While these aren’t the kind of features you should necessarily consider when shopping for a new phone, you’ll be glad they’re there if you ever need them. It may not be the most eye-catching feature Samsung offers with the Galaxy S23 family, but it may ultimately be the most important if you ever find yourself lost in the wilderness.
Be sure to check out our Galaxy S23 hub and roundup of the Galaxy S23 Ultra for all the latest leaks and rumours.