Qualcomm Halts Snapdragon Satellite Project Due to Lack of Smartphone Manufacturer Interest

Qualcomm Halts Snapdragon Satellite Project Due to Lack of Smartphone Manufacturer Interest
(Image: Tobias Költzsch/Golem.de)

Qualcomm has terminated the Snapdragon Satellite project. As explained in a press release by partner Iridium, the chip manufacturer canceled the existing agreement as of December 3, 2023.

Snapdragon Satellite aimed to enable satellite communication for users of smartphones equipped with certain Qualcomm SoCs. Qualcomm introduced the service at CES 2023 and showcased initial partnerships with smartphone manufacturers at MWC 2023.

Through Iridium’s satellites, users were intended to utilize two-way communication via SMS and messenger services. Unlike Apple’s satellite communication, Qualcomm’s solution was designed not only for emergency situations but also for staying connected in areas with poor network coverage.

Lack of Interest from Smartphone Manufacturers

However, according to Iridium’s press release, smartphone manufacturers ultimately demonstrated insufficient interest in implementing the service in their devices. Qualcomm expressed the same reason to CNBC.

Additionally, Qualcomm stated that smartphone manufacturers were interested in a standardized solution for satellite communication – one that could be used without relying on Qualcomm’s proprietary solution. Accordingly, Qualcomm informed CNBC that it intends to continue collaborating with Iridium on a standardized communication solution.

The specifics of this solution are currently unknown. Apple was the first major manufacturer to incorporate satellite communication into its smartphones, primarily limited to emergency messages rather than casual chatting. In remote areas without network coverage, iPhone users should be able to seek assistance.

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Mark Brannon
Tech journalist Mark Brannon explores the digital frontier, delivering engaging news and in-depth features on cutting-edge innovations and industry developments.