Qualcomm is scrapping plans to offer a satellite SOS feature for Android phones that would have rivaled the one offered by Apple on its latest iPhones. The feature, Snapdragon Satellite, was announced in partnership with satellite communications company Iridium in January. Now, just 10 months later, the plan is already dead.
Iridium said Thursday that Qualcomm “chose to end” its partnership with the feature because no smartphone makers signed up to use it. The feature had already been “successfully developed and demonstrated,” Iridium writes. But apparently the interest was not there.
Qualcomm he told CNBC that it will continue to work with Iridium on “standards-based solutions” for satellite connectivity, even as it discards the “proprietary solution” they had already developed. This indicates that Qualcomm could still try to offer satellite connectivity features for Android phones in the future, but the lack of initial interest in this technology suggests that it may not be soon.
Price may be one reason Snapdragon Satellite never took off
Snapdragon Satellite was intended to rival Apple’s Emergency SOS feature, introduced in 2022 on the iPhone 14. The feature, in partnership with satellite company Globalstar, allows iPhone users to alert emergency services or request assistance on the road via a satellite network when they are away. the range of normal cellular service. The service is currently offered for free, but Apple will begin charging users for access to satellite communications next year. The price of the service has not been announced.
Price may be one of the reasons why Snapdragon Satellite never took off. Someone needs to pay Iridium to access its satellites, and this system would have put Qualcomm in the middle of those payments. Smartphone makers may not have liked the idea of offering a service that was ultimately managed by Qualcomm.
That could explain why Qualcomm is now pursuing a standards-based approach to satellite connectivity, which would presumably allow the smartphone maker to control the relationship with satellite companies. In August it was discovered that Google was adding support for emergency satellite services to Android.
Satellite connectivity is now included in all new iPhones, but Apple has yet to demonstrate demand for the service. Apple is currently covering the costs, so until users start paying, we won’t know how many people really see satellite connectivity as a must-have.
Iridium is hopeful that phone manufacturers will eventually embrace it and believes this is a feature users will want. “We are re-engaging with smartphone OEMs, other chipmakers and smartphone operating system developers we previously collaborated with, as well as potential new partners,” said Jordan Hassin, chief communications officer at Iridium. . The edge.