This week at CES 2023, Qualcomm took a bunch of journalists way out into the desert outside of Las Vegas — no, it’s not what it sounds like. In fact, it was all about safety, with the company talking about Qualcomm Snapdragon Satellite, new technology that allows phones to communicate using satellite connectivity. Going well past GPS, the new mobile tech will allow users to send messages from anywhere via satellite, a huge lifeline for anyone who might find themselves stranded without cellular service — like, say, if they’re way out in the middle of a desert.
To make the magic happen, Qualcomm is teaming up with Iridium, a company that has a whole array of low-earth orbit satellites that form a comprehensive grid around the globe. Devices running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform will have the modems required to link up to Iridium’s satellites, which will allow users to send messages from locations without cellular service.
That will be a huge boon for folks who live in rural areas, or for folks going on long hikes in remote areas. Qualcomm is planning to have an emergency satellite text messaging feature ready by the second half of this year, and they are working with Garmin to loop in coordinates, which would allow users to send their exact GPS location along with an emergency text.
Qualcomm Snapdragon Satellite will just be on phones at the outset, but Qualcomm has indicated they are working on ways to use the tech in most other electronic devices, like laptops, tablets, vehicles, and smart home devices. The user base there is probably a lot narrower, but it’s easy to imagine a lot of useful applications for government jobs or folks doing research in the field.
We’ll probably hear more about what this planned emergency messaging feature will look like later this year, but for the time being, if you’re planning on getting a flagship phone running on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform, know that Qualcomm Snapdragon Satellite will be yet another feature available to you!
Qualcomm has been busy at CES 2023 — in addition to the Qualcomm Snapdragon Satellite reveal, the company also introduced their Snapdragon Ride Flex SoC, a chipset that will power cars of the future, and all the computing-based features that they’ll come equipped with.