Qualcomm-Iridium deal crumbles, crushing hopes to bring satellite connectivity to Android phones

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Galaxy S23 Ultra

Android phones aren’t on par with the latest iPhone models in many aspects, the lack of support for satellite connectivity being the one. Qualcomm’s partnership with satellite communication company Iridium announced at the CES, 2023 gave us hope that we’d see iPhone-like satellite features on high-end Android phones soon. To our dismay, the deal has now collapsed after Qualcomm decided to terminate the agreements.

According to a press statement released by Iridium, it successfully developed the technology powered by the Snapdragon Mobile Platforms in partnership with Qualcomm. But despite the technical success, smartphone manufacturers haven’t included the technology in their devices, triggering Qualcomm to end the partnership, effective December 3, 2023.

“While I’m disappointed that this partnership didn’t bear immediate fruit, we believe the direction of the industry is clear toward increased satellite connectivity in consumer devices,” said Iridium CEO Matt Desch.

However, Iridium is still interested in the project and is free to re-engage with smartphone OEMs, other chipmakers, and smartphone operating system developers to bring satellite-based SMS and emergency messaging. Qualcomm, on the other hand, did not officially announce the breaking off of the partnership, keeping us in the dark about its plans for satellite connectivity on Android phones.

Needless to say, the fact that smartphone vendors didn’t show interest in the Snapdragon’s Satellite platform means more waiting lies ahead. In the meantime, Apple’s iPhone models will continue to have that edge in the form of satellite connectivity support.

What do our readers think about satellite connectivity support on Android phones? Do you need it? Let us know in the comments section.

More about the topics: Android phones, Iridium, qualcomm, Satellite Connectivity