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What is Snapdragon Satellite? Qualcomm satellite messaging explained

US chipmaker Qualcomm took to Mobile World Congress 2023 to reveal that it was collaborating with smartphone manufacturers to bring satellite communications to your pocket with Snapdragon Satellite. 

But, what is Snapdragon Satellite, what new features will it bring and which companies will be using it in their phones? 

What is Snapdragon Satellite? 

Snapdragon Satellite is a two-way capable messaging solution for smartphones that relies on satellite communication. According to Snapdragon, it’s actually the first in the world of its kind. 

The feature uses the low-Earth orbiting (LEO) and Iridium satellite constellation to enable low-power low-latency satellite connections in the weather-resilient L-band spectrum. 

This means that, as long as you have a view of the open sky, Snapdragon Satellite can offer global coverage. Essentially, you can send two-way emergency messages, SMS texts and use other messaging apps that leverage satellite communications anywhere in the world. 

Snapdragon Satellite is designed to be used in emergencies or recreationally in remote, rural and offshore locations, allowing people to communicate from their phone in situations in which they might have previously struggled. 

Which companies will use Snapdragon Satellite? 

Qualcomm has partnered with Honor, Motorola, Nothing, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi to develop phones with satellite communication capabilities. 

Furthermore, OEMs and app developers will be able to differentiate and offer their own services based on satellite connectivity. 

“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,” said VP of product management at Qualcomm Francesco Grilli at MWC. 

Going forward, Qualcomm plans to push Snapdragon Satellite into other device categories, including computing, automotive and IoT.

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