Qualcomm is ending its partnership with satellite provider Iridium to provide satellite SOS feature for Android devices, the way Apple provides on its latest iPhones.

The feature, Snapdragon Satellite, was announced in partnership with the satellite communications company Iridium in January this year. Iridium and Qualcomm had announced to enable satellite messaging and emergency services in smartphones powered by Snapdragon Mobile Platforms using Iridium’s satellite network.

The companies successfully developed and demonstrated the technology. However, notwithstanding this technical success, smartphone manufacturers have not included the technology in their devices. Due to this, Qualcomm notified Iridium that it has ‘elected to terminate the agreements, effective December 3, 2023’.

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“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.

“Led by Apple today, MNOs (mobile network operators) and device manufacturers still plan, over time, to provide their customers with expanded coverage and new satellite-based features, and our global coverage and regulatory certainty make us well suited to be a key player in this emerging market,” he added, With the termination of these agreements, Iridium will be free to directly re-engage with smartphone OEMs, other chipmakers, and smartphone operating system developers that the Company had been collaborating with previously.

Iridium will also be pursuing new relationships with smart device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), chipmakers and developers for its existing and future service plans. The termination of these agreements does not affect Iridium’s financial guidance for full-year 2023.

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