Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Satellite project, which aimed to provide Android users with the ability to send texts via satellite when they have no cell service, is coming to an end. The company had hoped that this project would serve as its response to Apple’s emergency SOS feature in the iPhone 14 lineup.
Qualcomm is terminating its partnership with satellite phone maker Iridium, despite having successfully developed and demonstrated the technology. According to Iridium, smartphone manufacturers have not included the technology in their devices. Qualcomm stated that smartphone makers have expressed a preference for standards-based solutions for satellite connectivity, indicating a desire for a more open approach without relying on Qualcomm as a middleman.
The cost of satellite texting may have also deterred some manufacturers from integrating the technology. In the meantime, Apple is currently covering the cost of its emergency SOS feature.
With the conclusion of its agreements with Qualcomm, Iridium plans to work directly with smartphone manufacturers, mobile OS developers, and other chipmakers. On the other hand, Apple has enhanced its emergency SOS feature by incorporating crash detection integration in the iPhone 15.
Additionally, Starlink is expected to introduce its satellite SMS service next year. The company aims to eventually provide satellite-powered voice and data functions directly to phones, eliminating the need for a nearby Starlink terminal.