Qualcomm, one of the world’s largest chip manufacturers, has partnered with satellite phone company Iridium to bring satellite connectivity to Android smartphones. Once activated, this feature will allow users to send and receive messages in areas with zero mobile coverage. As Qualcomm chips are found in most Android smartphones, this partnership is expected to be highly successful.
In September 2022, Apple also introduced a similar feature for iPhone users, but it was second to UK smartphone company Bullitt, which launched the first satellite connection for smartphones in selected areas. However, this new partnership between Qualcomm and Iridium will make satellite connectivity available to millions of smartphone users worldwide.
Currently, the service will only allow users to send and receive basic emergency text messages without the need for mobile coverage. However, manufacturers will have the option to enable or disable satellite connectivity, which will not limit users to one particular brand. The Qualcomm-Iridium satellite, named the Snapdragon Satellite, offers worldwide coverage as it orbits 780 km above the Earth.
Satellite connectivity will be only available on premium Qualcomm chips, meaning that budget devices may not have the feature. At first, the feature will be available only on mobile phones, but later it will be rolled out to other devices such as tablets, laptops, and cars. Once widely available, satellite connectivity will completely solve the problem of weak or zero mobile coverage areas.
This will have a great impact on multiple industries, one of the most significant being tourism. This satellite connectivity feature will allow tourists to stay connected in remote areas and will also improve safety and emergency response. This will be a huge step forward in the field of telecommunications and will change the way we connect with each other.