Qualcomm launches Snapdragon Satellite for two-way messaging for smartphones

Qualcomm launches Snapdragon Satellite for two-way messaging for smartphones

The Iridium constellation.

The Iridium constellation.

Image Credit: Iridium

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Qualcomm introduced its Snapdragon Satellite iplatform to support premium smartphones with two-way satellite messaging.

Qualcomm and Iridium entered into an agreement to bring satellite-based connectivity to next-generation premium Android smartphones; Garmin looks forward to collaborating with support for emergency messaging. Apple recently launched something similar, where people who are in wilderness areas can call for emergency support via satellite connections when they are out of wireless range.

Snapdragon Satellite offers truly global coverage from pole to pole and can support two-way messaging for emergency use, SMS texting, and other messaging applications – for a variety of purposes such as emergencies or recreation in remote, rural and offshore locations.

This industry leading solution also provides the opportunity to expand emergency and two-way satellite messaging beyond smartphones to other devices needing global messaging capabilities.

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Qualcomm made the announcement at CES 2023, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.

Snapdragon Satellite will provide global connectivity using mobile messaging from around the world, starting with devices based on the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform.

Powered by Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems and supported by the fully operational Iridium satellite constellation, Snapdragon Satellite will enable OEMs and other service providers to offer truly global coverage. The solution for smartphones utilizes Iridium’s weather-resilient L-band spectrum for uplink and downlink.

Emergency messaging on Snapdragon Satellite is planned to be available on next-generation smartphones, launched in select regions starting in the second half of 2023.

“Robust and reliable connectivity is at the heart of premium experiences. Snapdragon Satellite showcases our history of leadership in enabling global satellite communications and our ability to bring superior innovations to mobile devices at scale,” said Durga Malladi, senior vice president and general manager, cellular modems and infrastructure, Qualcomm Technologies, in a statement. “Kicking off in premium smartphones later this year, this new addition to our Snapdragon platform strongly positions us to enable satellite communication capabilities and service offerings across multiple device categories.”

Beyond smartphones, Snapdragon Satellite can expand to other devices, including laptops, tablets, vehicles and IoT. As the Snapdragon Satellite ecosystem grows, OEMs and app developers can differentiate and offer unique branded services taking advantage of satellite connectivity. Snapdragon Satellite is planned to support 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN), as NTN satellite infrastructure and constellations become available.

“Iridium is proud to be the satellite network that supports Snapdragon Satellite for premium smartphones,” said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium, in a statement. “Our network is tailored for this service – our advanced, LEO satellites cover every part of the globe and support the lower-power, low-latency connections ideal for the satellite-powered services enabled by the industry-leading Snapdragon Satellite. Millions depend on our connections every day, and we look forward to the many millions more connecting through smartphones powered by Snapdragon Satellite.”

Garmin also offered words of support.

“Garmin welcomes the opportunity to expand our proven satellite emergency response services to millions of new smartphone users globally,” said Brad Trenkle, vice president of Garmin’s outdoor segment, in a statement. “Garmin Response supports thousands of SOS incidents each year and has likely saved many lives in the process, and we are looking forward to collaborating with Qualcomm.

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