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Qualcomm and Iridium team up to bring satellite messaging to Android users.

Published: 2023-01-06

Advanced chipset developer Qualcomm and satellite operator Iridium Communications will enable messaging via the satellite constellation. The function will be available to users of premium-level smartphones on the Android operating system.

The partnership comes months after Apple unveiled a near-similar feature that allows satellite-based emergency messages to be sent to remote areas in some countries like the US and Canada that lack regular cell phone coverage or Wi-Fi. These smartphones also use Qualcomm chips to communicate with satellites.

Qualcomm announced on Thursday that the new Snapdragon Satellite service will be available in select regions from the second half of 2023, starting with devices using the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform.

What's more, Snapdragon Satellite can be activated on other devices, including laptops, tablets, and even vehicles - though Qualcomm didn't say if this would require additional hardware.

When using the Qualcomm service, messages sent using it will be routed to one of the Iridium satellites, and after that it will be relayed to the recipient or emergency service. New details will be announced later.