The messaging and satellite connectivity were a major feature introduced with the iPhone 14 devices, and some Android phones followed suit. Qualcomm was supposed to join with Snapdragon Satellite, but apparently, that has now been postponed.
The chipset manufacturer and satellite communications company Iridium announced that they were ending their agreement to provide satellite phone services. According to a press release from Iridium, the parties had successfully developed and demonstrated the technology, but smartphone manufacturers decided not to include it in their devices, leading Qualcomm to terminate the agreement.
This split does not necessarily mean that satellite connectivity does not exist. Iridium’s CEO stated that the industry is moving forward with implementing the technology in consumer devices. Companies like SpaceX, AT&T, and T-Mobile are already working on similar projects; for example, T-Mo users can send messages from inaccessible locations via SpaceX’s Starlink satellites.
Qualcomm stated in a release that smartphone manufacturers will continue to use standard solutions. This means that the phone will still connect to a cell tower, which is then connected to a base station, which in turn receives the signal from a satellite in high orbit.
Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 with the ability to connect to satellites, provided that smartphone manufacturers add the necessary antenna hardware. Snapdragon Satellite was intended to be launched in the second half of this year, but with the termination of the agreement, that will certainly not happen.
San Diego-based company will continue to work with Iridium on current solutions, while also opening the door for the satellite telecommunications company to work directly with manufacturers.