Snapdragon Satellite to Bring Emergency Connectivity to More Devices

Feb 28, 2023, 7:17 AM EST
2 mins read
Snapdragon Satellite to Bring Emergency Connectivity to More Devices
(Image Credit: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm, a leading semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company, has announced that its Snapdragon Satellite two-way messaging solution will be available on smartphones manufactured by Honor, Motorola, Nothing, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi. The announcement was made at Mobile World Congress (MWC), and the solution will be initially available on devices based on the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset.

Snapdragon Satellite offers two-way messaging for emergency use and SMS texting when a cellular or Wi-Fi connection is not available. It uses the Iridium constellation of LEO (low-Earth orbit) satellites, which provides pole-to-pole coverage and uses an L-band spectrum. Qualcomm says that the support for Snapdragon Satellite will be available across “all upcoming 5G Modem-RF systems and Snapdragon Mobile Platform tiers (from 8- to 4-tier)” going forward. This support will allow satellite connectivity to expand beyond smartphones to other device categories, including computing, automotive, and IoT sectors.


Francesco Grilli, vice president of product management at Qualcomm, said, “Our long-standing relationships with Honor, Motorola, Nothing, OPPO, Vivo and Xiaomi are rooted in innovations and delivering exceptional connectivity experiences to consumers. By incorporating Snapdragon Satellite into next-generation devices, our partners will be able to offer satellite messaging capabilities thanks to a mature and commercially available global LEO constellation, which can allow subscribers around the world to communicate outdoors with emergency service providers, as well as family and friends.

While there is no indication yet of the specific devices that Qualcomm’s newly announced satellite smartphone partners will launch, the announcement shows that satellite connectivity on smartphones is expanding quickly. Apple‘s Emergency SOS and location-tracking service, which uses the Globalstar LEO constellation, is now available on iPhone 14 models in several countries, and Bullitt Group has launched Bullitt Satellite Connect (BSC) and the rugged Cat S75 handset, along with the Motorola Defy Satellite Link, a Bluetooth device that adds satellite comms to any recent iPhone or Android handset. BSC uses geostationary (GEO) satellites from Inmarsat and EchoStar.


The expansion of satellite connectivity on smartphones is an important development, as it will enable users to stay connected in areas where cellular or Wi-Fi connections are unavailable, especially during emergencies. With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Satellite solution, the use of satellite messaging capabilities will become more accessible, and the support for upcoming 5G Modem-RF systems and Snapdragon Mobile Platform tiers will extend satellite connectivity to other device categories beyond smartphones.

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