Pixel 9 To Get Emergency Satellite Connectivity

The New Exynos Modem to Bring Satellite Connectivity to Upcoming Pixel Devices

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Image: Samsung

Since Google developed the Tensor SoC with Samsung, it has been using Exynos modems for network connectivity. The last two chipsets have used the same Exynos modem, but it’s set to change soon. As per Android Authority’s Kamila Wojciechowska, the Tensor G4 – debuting on the Pixel 9 series – will be rewarded with a new modem.

Let’s have a recap. The first generation Tensor chipset was paired with Exynos Modem 5123. The Tensor G2 was upgraded with a newer Exynos Modem 5300, which stayed on the Tensor G3 as well. Now, the next Tensor chip in the pipeline, the G4, as per the info, will rock Samsung’s latest Exynos Modem 5400.

Since the 5400 modem has not been released, its full specifications are not yet known. A major highlight of it, though, will be the inclusion of non-terrestrial networks (NTN) technology, allowing for satellite connectivity. It is made possible thanks to 3GPP Release 17 support – a recent development in 5G standards.

What Is Satellite Connectivity, and How Will It Work on Android?

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Image: Google News

Just recently, we learned Google is working on a satellite SOS feature for its upcoming Pixel smartphones, which will work thanks to satellite connectivity support. The feature isn’t new, as Apple first unveiled it with the iPhone 14 lineup back in 2022. Google is a little late to catch up, but better late than never.

The report further adds that initially, T-Mobile in partnership with SpaceX will provide satellite connectivity, while other providers could join up in the future. It’s worth noting that you’re limited to texting, not calling.

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Image: Android Authority

Emergency services will be taken care of by an app called “Satellite Gateway”, allowing for communication via an inbuilt “Emergency SOS” feature. As for how it works, you’ll be presented with a few questions to determine your situation. Since it will be an emergency, you’ll be provided predefined answers to some questions to save time. Some of these questions are:

  • What happened?
  • [Are you/Are they/Is everyone] breathing?
  • In total, how many people are [missing/trapped]?
  • What best describes your situation?
  • What is on fire?
  • Are there weapons involved?
  • What type of vehicle or vessel?
  • Do any of these apply?

You’ll also have an option to notify your emergency contacts. Moreover, since your phone would need to be in a particular direction for satellite connectivity to work, Google has prepared animations to guide you through the process. This one, for instance:

The Satellite Connectivity Feature Would Not Be Limited to Pixel’s Smartphones Only

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Image: Google

While the Pixel 9 series would be Google’s first to welcome this feature, it will also mark its presence on other devices. The upcoming Pixel Fold 2, which is also expected to be out this year, will also get it, according to the report.

A new Pixel tablet codenamed ‘clementine’ is also in the works, and while it will be using the same Exynos Modem 5400, there’s no confirmation whether it will support satellite connectivity or not. Interestingly though, the inclusion of this modem hints at the tablet boasting 5G. In case you’re unaware, the current Pixel tablet lacks cellular connectivity.

There’s no information on when other Android smartphone makers would bring satellite connectivity to their smartphones. Samsung could benefit from its Exynos modems and Android 15’s software support, and other manufacturers could also join soon.

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