Qualcomm to Bring Satellite Messaging to Android Phones

‘Snapdragon Satellite’ is a new feature coming soon to high-end Android smartphones, which is set to compete with Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite (via The Verge).

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The feature will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and its X70 Modem system, along with some additional radios.

According to Qualcomm, phones that support the feature should be “launched in select regions starting in the second half of 2023.” Several manufacturers are already working on designs, revealed Qualcomm spokesperson Francesco Grilli.

Companies that want to add Snapdragon Satellite to their phones will work directly with Qualcomm to figure out the software and hardware.

To the satellites, phones with the tech will look like any other Iridium-enabled devices. According to Grilli, “Snapdragon Satellite leverages Garmin Response.”

When you send an SOS, “response coordinators immediately see the customer’s Latitude/Longitude in their proprietary mapping and response coordination software to determine the appropriate agency to coordinate the rescue.”

As for who will pay for the messages, “the cost of the satellite-based messaging service and dependent services will depend on OEMs and service providers and how they choose to offer the service,” according to Grilli.

Although Qualcomm says the emergency service will be free or very cheap, it hasn’t provided details yet on how much it’ll cost.

Once it becomes available, Qualcomm says users be able to use the service with their regular phone numbers.