Qualcomm is announcing Snapdragon Satellite at CES 2023 this week. The company claims that this is the “World’s first satellite-based solution capable of supporting two-way messaging” for premium smartphones.
So how is this different from what Apple announced on the iPhone 14 last year? Well, this is two-way messaging. With the iPhone, you can only use satellites to send a message to emergency services. Not get one back. So it’s a bit bigger of a deal here.
Qualcomm claims that Snapdragon Satellite can offer truly global coverage from pole to pole. It can support two-way messaging for emergency use, SMS texting, and other messaging applications. Qualcomm explicitly says that this isn’t just for emergency services. Which is pretty unique.
Qualcomm Technologies’ senior vice president and general manager of cellular modems and infrastructure, Durga Malladi stated that “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.”
Snapdragon Satellite will service more than just smartphones
Qualcomm sees this feature as being available to more than just smartphones. But also laptops, tablets, vehicles and other IoT devices. And as the Snapdragon Satellite ecosystem grows, OEMs and app developers will be able to differentiate and offer unique branded services taking advantage of satellite connectivity.
Snapdragon Satellite is planned to support 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks as NTN satellite infrastucture and constellations become available. Iridium is going to be included in Snapdragon Satellite. Which their CEO, Matt Desch stated that “Iridium is proud to be the satellite network that supports Snapdragon Satellite for premium smartphones. 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.”
There’s no word yet on when devices might start launching with Satellite support, but it likely won’t be too far down the road.