CES 2023: Snapdragon Satellite coming to Android phones this year

Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon Satellite at CES 2023. It is the world’s first satellite-based solution for two-way messaging on premium smartphones and more. Unlike the iPhone 14’s satellite connection, which is intended for emergency use only, Snapdragon Satellite works with two-way text messaging and select messaging apps that support it, as well as emergency use cases.

Snapdragon Satellite is an agreement between Qualcomm and Iridium that will power next-generation premium Android smartphones using the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. Garmin also supports his Snapdragon Satellite for emergency messages.


Brad Trenkle, vice president of Garmin’s outdoor segment, said: in a press release. “Garmin Response supports thousands of SOS incidents each year and may have saved many lives in the process. We look forward to connecting with you.”

Snapdragon Satellite provides truly global coverage from one pole to another. This satellite connection can support two-way messaging for emergency scenarios, and regular SMS text messages, in addition to other selected messaging applications. It can also be used in non-emergency situations, so Snapdragon Satellite allows you to stay in touch with others in remote, rural, and offshore locations.

How does Snapdragon satellite work? It is powered by Snapdragon 5G A modem RF system, supported by a fully operational Iridium satellite constellation. Snapdragon Satellite uses Iridium’s weatherproof L-band spectrum for both uplink and downlink. Support for emergency messages using Snapdragon Satellite will begin in select regions in late 2023. Since this is a satellite connection, an open view of the sky is required for the Snapdragon Satellite to work.

iridium satellite constellation

Iridium CEO Matt Desch said: “Our network is tailored for this service. Our advanced LEO satellites cover every corner of the globe and are ideally suited for satellite-based services enabled by the industry-leading Snapdragon satellite. We support low-power, low-latency connectivity.Millions of people rely on our connectivity every day, and we look forward to connecting millions more via smartphones equipped with Snapdragon Satellite. I have.”

Snapdragon Satellite will be extended to devices other than smartphones in the future. Such devices include laptops, tablets, vehicles, and the Internet of Things (IoT). As the Snapdragon Satellite ecosystem grows, both manufacturers and app developers will be able to differentiate and offer their own branded services that take full advantage of satellite connectivity.

“Robust and reliable connectivity is at the core of any premium experience. “This new addition to the Snapdragon platform, which will launch in premium smartphones later this year, will enable us to offer satellite communications capabilities and services across multiple device categories.”

iPhone 14 on the table.
Joe Mulling/Digital Trends

The iPhone 14 series, which includes the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max, is the first smartphone with satellite connectivity via Globalstar, but for emergencies only. Snapdragon Satellite provides satellite connectivity not only for regular SMS and messaging, but also for emergencies.

It will be interesting to see if Apple eventually follows suit, as satellite connectivity is very useful in case you can’t get a normal cellular or Wi-Fi signal.

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