Qualcomm-Iridium split: Snapdragon satellite connectivity hits a dead end

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Flipboard
  • Email
  • WhatsApp
Qualcomm-Iridium split: Snapdragon satellite connectivity hits a dead end (Image: unsplash.com)
Qualcomm-Iridium split: Snapdragon satellite connectivity hits a dead end (Image: unsplash.com)

Delhi : Qualcomm and its partner Iridium have revealed that Snapdragon Satellite is coming to an abrupt end, as the two firms have terminated a contract that would have delivered satellite access to Android phones.

Satellite connection was something no one expected to see on smartphones only a few years ago, but it's now standard as Apple's iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 lines have emphasised the function and its value in distant places without cellular service. However, there hasn't been much activity in this area on Android.

Qualcomm's unveiling of Snapdragon Satellite earlier this year was the most significant statement about satellite connection on Android. In collaboration with Iridium, the technology would have allowed Android handsets to establish limited communication via satellites in order to deliver emergency messages. Despite this, we haven't heard anything about the technology in the almost a year since it was unveiled.

Qualcomm and Iridium have stated that their relationship would end on December 3, 2023, without any Snapdragon Satellite products being released.

Android phones aren't presently utilising the technology required to connect to satellites, which is the main reason the collaboration is ending. This decision ultimately stems from Qualcomm, Iridium claims,

Iridium elaborates:

The officials developed and demonstrated the technology satisfactorily; nevertheless, despite this technical accomplishment, smartphone makers have not implemented the technology in their handsets.

Qualcomm has earlier stated that handsets from Oppo, Nothing, and Motorola will all use the technology, but nothing came of it. The business also boasted that the technology will be accessible on all tiers of Snapdragon CPUs. Satellite connection for Android phones and other devices has also been previously promised by rival chipmaker MediaTek. Meanwhile, T-Mobile recently revealed a partnership with Space-X that enables Android phones to have satellite access without the need for additional gear.

How will this affect Android phones' ability to connect to satellites? Android developers appear to have shown a preference for using "standards-based solutions" over Qualcomm's proprietary approach, according to a statement from Qualcomm that CNBC cites. The business also stated that it plans to "collaborate with Iridium on standards-based solutions" and that it will be "discontinuing efforts" with Snapdragon Satellite as it now exists.