Qualcomm and Irdium enters partnership to bring satellite connectivity to android phones

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Qualcomm and Iridium Communications have collaborated to offer a satellite-based messaging service on premium smartphones running Google’s Android operating system.

The collaboration will bring satellite messaging to select Android devices, beginning with those powered by Qualcomm’s new flagship SoC, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Following in the footsteps of Apple and T-Mobile, the technology uses Qualcomm’s 5G Modem-RF Systems in conjunction with Iridium’s satellite constellation to deliver emergency messaging.

However, it will eventually be rolled out to tablets, laptops, and even vehicles, and will also become a service that is not limited to emergency communication – though this will almost certainly incur a fee.

It means that even in areas with no mobile coverage, handsets can communicate with passing satellites and send and receive messages. Potential applications include emergency SOS services, SMS texts, and other low-bandwidth messaging applications in areas where Iridium’s global constellation is licensed to operate.

Meanwhile, GPS-based device maker Garmin will coordinate emergency response services for users, Qualcomm said, adding support for emergency messages in remote locations where carrier coverage does not exist via its Response feature built atop the Iridium network.

In addition to assisting with hardware development, Qualcomm has agreed to sell the service to businesses on Iridium’s behalf.

The sources for this piece include articles in Reuters and BBC.

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