Qualcomm has announced Snapdragon Satellite, a partnership with Iridium that allows satellite-based connectivity on high-end Android phones.
The ability to send and receive messages via satellite is an important safety one, allowing people to reach out for help when they need it and don’t have access to a cellular or Wi-Fi network. It’s a feature that Apple added to its iPhone 14 lineup last year, and now Qualcomm has built similar technology designed for Android OEMs.
Qualcomm says that the new connectivity option will be available on phones that have both the company’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip and the X70 model. There’ll need to be some extra hardware added to make the satellite feature actually work, of course, with Qualcomm expecting phones with all of this new tech to arrive starting in the second half of this year.
Just like Apple’s Emergency SOS via Satellite, Qualcomm Satellite will only initially be available in emergency situations. It’ll allow users to contact someone and summon help, with location data also provided.
But eventually, Qualcomm expects to be able to support what it’s calling “premium messaging” which will likely be a paid-for option offered above and beyond the emergency connectivity use case. There’s no word on pricing for that, nor do we know exactly what the pricing structure will be for the emergency SOS component, either.