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Snapdragon Satellite: Qualcomm’s new satellite messaging feature for Android users

Snapdragon Satellite

Qualcomm has announced its satellite messaging feature for Android phones, called Snapdragon Satellite. Similar to Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite, the new feature will allow Android users to connect to satellites to send messages without a cellular signal. The company plans to roll out the emergency messaging on Snapdragon Satellite on next-generation smartphones, in select regions starting in the second half of 2023.

In partnership with satellite phone maker Iridium, android phones equipped with the X70 modem and Qualcomm’s SOC will be able to connect to Iridium’s satellite network for off-grid texting in both emergency and non-emergency situations. According to Qualcomm spokesperson Francisco Grilli,  several manufacturers working on designs for smartphones. The phone makers will have flexibility in terms of how they implement satellite messaging.

According to the press release, the feature will only be available in flagship Android phones as the chip maker Qualcomm will include the necessary tech in its premium chips.  Snapdragon Satellite will enable OEMs and other service providers to offer global coverage. Smartphones will utilize Iridium’s weather-resilient L-band spectrum for uplink and downlink.

Qualcomm says beyond smartphones, Snapdragon Satellite can expand to other devices, including laptops, tablets, vehicles, and IoT. Snapdragon Satellite is planned to support 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN), as NTN satellite infrastructure and constellations become available. The feature will only allow emergency texts, not calls.

Last year, in 2022, Apple introduced Emergency SOS, which allows the iPhone 14 to connect to satellites to send emergency texts. To use the feature, users need to be outside under a clear sky to use satellite messaging. Users will get an on-screen message that will offer guidance for where to point their device in order to connect to a satellite. However, unlike Apple’s Emergency SOS, Qualcomm intends Snapdragon Satellite to also be used for non-emergency messaging.



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