Fri. Dec 8th, 2023
Satellite Connectivity in Phones Fizzles and Dies: Consumer Influence on Innovation

The deal between Iridium and Qualcomm that would have powered satellite connectivity in phones has fallen through. It seems that consumers were not willing to pay extra for this feature, ultimately leading to the demise of the partnership.

Apple initially announced that the iPhone would be able to use satellites for emergencies, highlighting stories of people being saved in difficult situations. Qualcomm eagerly shared their plans to offer the same, followed by other companies like Samsung expressing their support. However, a year later, the idea lost its momentum.

It is likely that someone realized that consumers were not willing to pay extra for satellite connectivity, either in the form of higher hardware prices or monthly subscriptions. As a result, the idea of Snapdragon Satellite did not come to fruition.

Despite this setback, the concept of satellite communication is not completely dead. Google continues to work on integrating it into Android, T-Mobile and Starlink are actively pursuing it, and there are still options available, such as the Motorola puck device.

This situation highlights how consumer buying habits have a significant influence on innovation. Companies must consider the demand and willingness to pay for new features or technologies. In this case, the data showed that there was not enough potential profit in satellite connectivity, leading manufacturers to focus on improving display and camera technologies instead.

Although companies may rush to announce new features, they often conduct research behind the scenes to assess profitability. This has been observed in past cases, such as with Google Glass and the Nexus Q.

While some may be disappointed by the lack of satellite connectivity in phones, it is possible that similar technologies will emerge in the future, potentially under different names or from alternative companies. The key will be finding ways to make such features more affordable.

In the meantime, consumers can look forward to the advancements of 5G technology, which holds great promise but has yet to fully deliver on expectations.