CES 2023: Qualcomm Unveils Snapdragon Satellite; Two-Way Satellite-Based Messaging for Android Phones to Arrive Soon

Qualcomm, American semiconductor manufacturer behind Snapdragon chipsets on the mobile platform, has announced satellite-based two-way messaging feature for smartphones at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2023). The company’s Snapdragon Satellite solution will allow users to send and receive emergency messages, SMS, and texts on other messaging apps on Android smartphones globally. The feature will first come to devices based on the company’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile platform. A similar feature is available on Apple’s latest iPhones, which lets users send emergency SOS messages via a satellite connection.

The company has partnered with satellite telecommunications company Iridium to provide the service to users around the globe. Snapdragon Satellite will be powered by Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems and will utilise Iridium’s constellation of satellites orbiting earth, enabling manufacturers to offer the service worldwide, according to Qualcomm.

It’s worth noting that Apple’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature is currently only available in USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and Ireland.

Qualcomm’s satellite-based messaging service is expected to launch in select regions sometime in the second half of 2023. The company is also planning to expand the feature beyond smartphones to laptops, tablets, vehicles, and IoT devices. It intends for manufacturers and app developers to develop proprietary features and applications based on the capabilities of Snapdragon Satellite.

Garmin, which makes popular GPS-based activity tracking smartwatches, has already said it intends to collaborate with Qualcomm to bring the feature to its devices. Garmin watches have their own SOS feature, Garmin Response, which activates when a user presses the SOS button, connecting them to the Garming Response team for rescue or aid.

Snapdragon Satellite feature promises to offer “pole-to-pole” coverage for satellite-based two-way messaging in remote, rural, and offshore locations. In addition to emergency use, the service could also be used for recreational purposes. There is currently no word from the company on whether smartphones in India will offer support for Snapdragon Satellite, when it arrives later this year.

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