Qualcomm has announced Snapdragon Satellite, which will connect select Snapdragon-powered premium smartphones to the Iridium satellite network for emergency texting in the second half of 2023.
What this means is that Android smartphones will be able to duplicate and expand upon Emergency SOS, Apple’s satellite service that allows iPhone 14 models to text back and forth with emergency services.
It appears, for now, that Snapdragon Satellite will be limited to the same “emergency” texting as Emergency SOS offers, which will be extremely handy for hikers or simply those who are driving or living in rural areas. CNET editor James Kim died in 2006 when he tried to hike 10 miles through snowy Oregon mountains after he and his family were unable to call for help because of poor cell service. (Qualcomm notes that you’ll need a “clear view of the sky” to enable the feature.)
Qualcomm said at CES that the new capability would be tied to next-gen smartphones in “select regions,” which use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform. It will eventually expand to other platforms, including laptops and IoT devices, Qualcomm said. Snapdragon Satellite is planned to support 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN), as NTN satellite infrastructure and constellations become available, for branded services that will vary by carrier and device maker.
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