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Technology

Android’s dream of satellite connectivity ends abruptly


Security is a major selling point in a society that profits from fear mongering, so I’m scratching my head over the canceled plans for Android’s version of satellite connectivity.

Qualcomm, the maker of the most popular chip powering Android devices, planned to sell satellite connectivity capability to manufacturers. At the beginning of the year, he showed his ability to journalists and several smartphone manufacturers on board, including Xiaomi, Motorola and Oppo. But last week, Iridium, the company with which Qualcomm reportedly contracted the satellite connection, announced that Qualcomm had ended deals with manufacturers to bring its services to smartphones.

THE Press release explains that while companies “have successfully developed and demonstrated the technology”, smartphone manufacturers “have not included the technology in their devices”, which appears to have led to stagnation.

“While I am disappointed that this partnership did not bear fruit immediately, we believe the industry’s direction is clear toward increased satellite connectivity in consumer devices,” said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium. And then it’s mentioned that Apple is paving the way for these particular satellite offerings.

“Under Apple’s leadership today, (mobile network operators) and device manufacturers still plan, over time, to provide their customers with expanded coverage and new features via satellite.” Iridium plans to pursue partnerships directly with device makers rather than relying on Qualcomm as the initiator.

A Qualcomm spokesperson confirmed to Gizmodo that the company plans to “continue to collaborate with Iridium on standards-based solutions while discontinuing efforts on the proprietary solution introduced earlier this year.”

I’ve been following Android’s supposed advent of satellite offerings as a dedicated green bubble. I liked this feature when Apple released it to the market. iPhone 14/14 Pro– that’s why I take the review unit with me if I go out to the hills of California. I had hoped that Android would follow suit with this personal safety feature by the end of the year, like Qualcomm projected in January.

Qualcomm and Iridium’s Snapdragon Satellite offerings were less turnkey than Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite. But it allowed you to send an Over-the-Top (OTT) text message through an app like WhatsApp without relying on a third party. Apple’s version connects to its relay services, which direct you to the appropriate emergency service.

Android currently offers no such satellite connectivity. The only security features provided are those of Google Pixel crash detection and that of Samsung SOS messages. The Pixel smartphone would not have debuted with satellite services since it runs on Google’s Tensor chip. THE Pixel 7 And Pixel 8 are rumor have hidden satellite connectivity capabilities enabled through Android 14, although nothing has been revealed yet. There is code that shows connectivity to Garmin’s Response service, which is the same network that Iridium provides the infrastructure for.

I’ll be curious to see if Iridium and Google will offer satellite connectivity to Pixel users before the rest of the Android ecosystem jumps on board. Unfortunately, this will cost users interested in this feature. Garmin Emergency Services currently requires a $15/month subscription on its devices.

Apple will also eventually charge for Emergency SOS via satellite, although it gave iPhone 14 Pro users two years before paying. Anyway, with all the coverage around lives saved Due to the availability of this feature on the iPhone, calling for help via satellite will become a real added value for flagship smartphones.

Gn tech

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