Qualcomm Technologies announced Snapdragon Satellite at CES 2023. The company calls it the world’s first satellite-based two-way messaging solution coming on Android smartphones with a promise of universal coverage.
The system is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems. Further, it gets support from the operational Iridium® satellite constellation. The US tech giant claims that Snapdragon Satellite will allow Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and other service providers to offer a ‘truly global coverage’. The satellite solution utilizes Iridium’s weather-resilient L-band spectrum for both download and upload.
Snapdragon Satellite will arrive on flagship smartphones
Snapdragon Satellite will bring global connectivity using satellite communications through mobile messaging around the world. The feature will first be available on flagship phones which will run on Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform.
The benchmark service is planned to arrive on next-generation smartphones in select regions 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, of cellular modems and infrastructure, at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “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.”
For more than a smartphone
Snapdragon Satellite won’t be available for smartphones only. Qualcomm plans to bring the service to a range of gadgets such as laptops, tablets, vehicles, and IoT. The company says that once the ecosystem grows, companies can start service differentiation “taking advantage of satellite connectivity.”
Snapdragon Satellite will support 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) when NTN satellite infrastructures become available. To use the service, users need to be out in the open and the sky must be clear. The satellite service allows users to send messages of 160 characters. It isn’t able to send photos or videos though and delivery takes around 10 seconds.
Satellite communication growing
The idea of satellite communication has dominated the smartphone arena in recent months. Many smartphone makers are keen on introducing the much-sought-after technology on handheld devices. Google is rumored to bring satellite communication on Android 14. Apple, on the other hand, has already introduced Emergency SOS Via Satellite on iPhone 14. The service lets users send SMS over satellite communication, a possible lifesaver in critical situations.
With Qualcomm announcing its support for satellite communications, it could hugely contribute to the growth of satellite connectivity on next-generation smartphones. A huge number of Android smartphones use Snapdragon chipsets. The semiconductor bringing the system means mobile phones will support satellite service from the chipset level.
Qualcomm will bring its Snapdragon Satellite solution with Iridium which is operating 66 satellites in low Earth orbit.
Would you love for satellite communication to arrive on all smartphones except on expensive ones or do you think it is not imperative yet? You can share your opinion in the comments below.
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