Less than a year after presentation, Snapdragon Satellite has been discontinued. The satellite connectivity service of Qualcommcreated to rival Apple’s Emergency SOS, didn’t even get a chance to formally debut on the market before being ostracized.
As reported Iridium, the company that owns the satellite network on which the service would operate, Qualcomm decided to break the link that united them. The San Diego chipper notified him of its determination at the beginning of November, although the finalization of the agreement between the parties will be effective from next December 3.
The truly curious thing about this story is that Iridium has not been shy in acknowledging that the failure of Snapdragon Satellite occurred due to the lack of interest from mobile manufacturers. This is how the firm explained it in an official statement:
“Companies successfully developed and demonstrated the technology (for Snapdragon Satellite); however, despite this technical success, smartphone manufacturers have not included it in their devices.”
Qualcomm, for its part, told CNBC that brands showed greater interest in working with standard satellite solutions. Cristiano Amon’s team indicated that, despite the discontinuation of Snapdragon Satellite, they hoped to continue collaborating with Iridium on other projects.
The failure of Snapdragon Satellite
Qualcomm presented Snapdragon Satellite in the first days of 2023, during CES. The concept of the service was practically identical to that of Emergency SOS, the satellite connectivity alternative that Apple had presented in 2022 with the iPhone 14.
The intention was for the platform to allow any user of an Android mobile with Qualcomm hardware could connect to the Iridium network in case of an accident. However, the Californians’ strategy was even more ambitious. In the future they intended to offer the possibility of sending messages through this channel, even in non-emergency situations.
According to Qualcomm, Snapdragon Satellite would be available in smartphones that use a processor Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and the modem X70. The initiative looked really attractive, considering that most of the high-end mobile phones that would arrive in the following months would include these components. However, it never prospered.
Let us also keep in mind that Iridium’s satellite network is one of the most robust that exists and has been operating since the 1990s. Likewise, an advantage that Snapdragon Satellite would have over Apple’s Emergency SOS was that it could know the trajectory of the satellites several months in advance. This would allow users to gain connectivity without even having to point their smartphone towards the sky.
The truth is that Qualcomm’s proposal it did not catch on among the manufacturers, and most likely it was not for technical reasons. While the companies did not elaborate on the matter, the costs of implementing Snapdragon Satellite may have been too high. At least in the beginning.
Matt DeschCEO of Iridium, showed upset for the termination of the link with Qualcomm. However, he stressed that, despite the failure of Snapdragon Satellite, the technology has a lot to offer the public. “We believe the industry direction is clear toward greater satellite connectivity in consumer devices,” he said.