Android has a response to iPhone’s satellite connection, thanks to Qualcomm

Wallace Witkowski

Snapdragon Satellite service connects Android smartphones to satellites without the need for a terrestrial gateway

Qualcomm Inc. is trying to overtake Apple Inc. by offering emergency satellite phone service using Android smartphones, with specific product announcements expected later this year.

At the CES technology event in Las Vegas, Qualcomm (QCOM) announced a partnership with satellite network Iridium Communications Inc. (IRDM) on the Snapdragon Satellite. With this service, next-generation smartphones will run the Android operating system from Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL).

Qualcomm says that with the right Android smartphones with good sky visibility, users outside the range of cellular service will be able to send emergency SMS messages using their 66-satellite network.

In a media presentation, Francesco Grilli, Qualcomm’s head of product management, said the service has a text message response time of around 10 seconds, compared to over a minute for other services in areas without cellular service. I said it can be fast. To use the service, Android users point their phones at the sky and link with the Iridium satellites.

For now, the service is dedicated to messaging and uses less bandwidth than voice services that require constant connectivity.

In September, Globalstar (GSAT) stock fluctuated after Apple (AAPL) announced a partnership with a satellite company to provide emergency services.

However, unlike Globalstar, Snapdragon Satellite does not require a satellite gateway on the ground, so the device communicates directly with the satellite rather than routing messages through terrestrial infrastructure.

“If you don’t have a gateway in the area you’re in, you’re out of luck,” Grilli said of Globalstar. If you’re in, you don’t have a gateway there and you don’t have coverage.”

Qualcomm is unable to comment on specific OEM manufacturers at this time. Consumer services may launch in Western Europe and North America, with costs yet to be determined.

Qualcomm shares fell 1.4% in recent activity, while the S&P 500 fell 0.9% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 1.1%.

– Wallace Witkowski


(Closed) Dow Jones Newswire

01-05-23 1628ET

Copyright (c) 2023 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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