Qualcomm Snapdragon Satellite Project with Iridium Ended
In a turn of events, Qualcomm has terminated its partnership with satellite company Iridium, casting a shadow over the much-anticipated Snapdragon Satellite project for next-generation Android smartphones. Initially announced earlier this year, the collaboration aimed to integrate Iridium’s communication technology into Android devices, mirroring similar solutions from industry giants Apple and Huawei.
Despite successful technical development and demonstrations between the two companies, Qualcomm cited a lack of adoption by major cellphone manufacturers as the reason for ending the partnership. The decision, effective from December 3, 2023, was communicated to Iridium on November 3.
Iridium, however, remains optimistic about the future of satellite connectivity in consumer devices. Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium, expressed disappointment in the immediate outcome but emphasized the industry’s clear trajectory towards increased satellite integration. He highlighted Apple’s commitment to expanding satellite capabilities under its leadership.
“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 Matt Desch.
Despite the setback, Iridium sees itself well-positioned to contribute to the emerging market, leveraging its global reach and regulatory certainty. The company asserts that its demonstrated ability to provide reliable global capabilities to mobile users aligns with the industry’s future objectives.
Moreover, the end of the collaboration with Qualcomm opens doors for Iridium to re-engage directly with smartphone original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), other chipmakers, and smartphone operating system developers that it has previously collaborated with.
As the industry continues to evolve towards enhanced connectivity, the termination of this partnership marks a momentary setback for Qualcomm and Iridium, but it also signals opportunities for Iridium to explore new avenues in the rapidly evolving landscape of satellite communication for consumer devices.