After a series of rumors, Qualcomm announced at CES 2023 its latest feature to hit premium Android smartphones called the Snapdragon Satellite. According to the company, the feature will benefit from two-way messaging support with satellites, which can be used in an emergency, and provide truly global coverage from pole to pole. Just like Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite, the feature needs clear, open skies to work optimally.
The Snapdragon Satellite will be powered by the collaboration of Qualcomm and Iridium Communications
For those who don’t know, only Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 enabled smartphones will support Snapdragon Satellite. The reason for this is simple. Qualcomm’s flagship SoC features an integrated Snapdragon X70 5G modem, which contains RF systems that make communication with Iridium satellites possible. Durga Maladi, senior vice president and general manager, Cellular Modems and Infrastructure at Qualcomm, said he was excited about the feature coming to phones later this year.
“Strong, reliable connectivity is at the heart of premium experiences. The Snapdragon Satellite showcases our pioneering history of enabling global communications via satellite and our ability to deliver breakthrough mobile innovations at scale. Launching with premium smartphones later this year, this new addition to the platform Our Snapdragon positions us very strongly to enable satellite connectivity capabilities and service offerings across multiple device classes.”
There’s currently no word on the level of investment Qualcomm has made with Iridium Communications to bring the Snapdragon Satellite to Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered smartphones. However, Iridium CEO Matt Dish says millions of users will be connected to the service.
“Iridium is proud to be the Snapdragon Satellite-enabled satellite network for premium smartphones. Our network is built specifically for this service – our advanced Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites cover every part of the globe and support low-power, low-latency connections ideal for satellite-powered services that They are enabled by the industry-leading Snapdragon Satellite. Millions rely on our connections every day, and we look forward to many more millions connected via Snapdragon Satellite-enabled smartphones.”
Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon Satellite will arrive for compatible smartphones in the second half of 2023. Unfortunately, the chip maker didn’t say which countries will be the first to receive it and whether or not it will be free at launch. What we do know is that Apple is not the only company whose products provide satellite communication now.
The advantage that Qualcomm has is that any smartphone vendor can integrate the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC into their products and get satellite connectivity, and that includes price-to-performance hardware. We still have to see how well this service performs, so we’ll update our readers in the near future. Stay tuned.
News source: Qualcomm