Chip-maker Qualcomm has decided to end its partnership with satellite provider Iridium to offer a satellite SOS feature for Android devices, similar to what Apple provides on its latest iPhones. The feature, known as Snapdragon Satellite, was announced earlier this year in collaboration with Iridium.
The goal of this partnership was to enable satellite messaging and emergency services on smartphones using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Mobile Platforms and Iridium’s satellite network. The companies were able to successfully develop and demonstrate the technology. However, despite their efforts, smartphone manufacturers have not included this technology in their devices.
As a result, Qualcomm has notified Iridium that it will be terminating the agreements, effective from December 3, 2023. While Iridium’s CEO, Matt Desch, expressed disappointment in the immediate lack of progress, he believes that the industry is moving towards increased satellite connectivity in consumer devices. Desch mentioned that Apple, as well as mobile network operators and device manufacturers, still have plans to provide expanded coverage and new satellite-based features to their customers.
With the termination of the agreements, Iridium will now have the freedom to directly engage with smartphone OEMs, other chipmakers, and smartphone operating system developers that they had previously been collaborating with. Additionally, Iridium will be seeking new relationships with smart device OEMs, chipmakers, and developers for its existing and future service plans.
It is important to note that the termination of these agreements does not impact Iridium’s financial guidance for the full year 2023.