Advanced chipset developer Qualcomm and satellite operator Iridium Communications will enable messaging over the satellite constellation. The function will be available to users of premium smartphones with the Android operating system.
The partnership comes months after Apple unveiled a near-similar feature that allows satellite-based emergency messages to be sent to remote areas in some countries like the US and Canada that lack regular cellular coverage or Wi-Fi. These smartphones also use Qualcomm chips to communicate with satellites.
Qualcomm announced on Thursday that the new Snapdragon satellite service will be available in select regions starting in the second half of 2023, starting with devices using the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform.
What’s more, the Snapdragon satellite can be activated on other devices, including laptops, tablets and even vehicles – although Reuters reports that Qualcomm didn’t say whether this would require additional hardware.
When using the Qualcomm service, messages sent with it are relayed to one of the Iridium satellites and then relayed to the recipient or emergency service. New details will be announced later.