A collaboration between Iridium and Qualcomm will offer satellite access to premium Android phones later this year.
It means that phones can connect with passing satellites to send and receive messages in places where there is no cell service.
Many smartphones that run on Android have chips made by Qualcomm.
Apple said that the iPhone 14 will have a satellite feature in September 2022.
Simple text messages during times of crisis are currently all that can be sent and received via the service.
Bullitt, a British smartphone company, was the first to start its own satellite service, coming out ahead of Apple. It is also useful in an emergency. At first, it will only be available in a few places.
With the new partnership, millions more android users will be able to use the same service without being tied to a specific brand. However, it will be up to the manufacturer to make it possible.
Iridium was the first company to make a satellite phone system. In 1997, it put its first satellite into orbit. It has updated its network of 75 spacecraft. This took place in 2019.
The satellites cover the whole world and fly in a low orbit about 485 miles (780 km) above the Earth. Groups of satellites can talk to each other and share information.
Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Satellite capability will first be in high-end CPUs. This means that it is unlikely to show up in cheap devices.
But eventually, it will be available on tablets, laptops, and even cars. It will also become a service that isn’t just for emergency calls, though there may be a fee for that.
Most people think that satellite connectivity is the next step for mobile phones because it solves the problem of “not-spots,” or places without coverage. These are more likely to happen in rural or far-off places.
Services like Elon Musk’s Starlink have already used it successfully to cover a large area with broadband.
Satellite internet is faster and more dependable than cable or fiber connections, but it is more expensive.
Countries like India and China don’t let people use satellite phones, so people will have to follow the rules in their own countries to use this feature.