MWC 2023: Qualcomm’s Customers are Adding Snapdragon Satellite to their Devices
by Shelly Kramer and Michael Diamond | February 28, 2023

The News: MWC 2023 announcements from Qualcomm include news that the company’s smartphone customers such as Motorola, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and others are adding Snapdragon Satellite capabilities into their handset devices, which is key for users in situations where users need connectivity in off-grid situations. See the full Press Release from Qualcomm.

MWC 2023: Qualcomm’s Customers are Adding Snapdragon Satellite to their Devices

Analyst Take: MWC 2023 featured a raft of announcements from Qualcomm, one of which was news shared that Qualcomm’s smartphone customers are adding Snapdragon Satellite capabilities into their handset devices. I had a chance to sit through a briefing with Chris Patrick and the Handsets team on Snapdragon Satellite and it’s a not a surprise that vendors are already lining up to add satellite capabilities into their handset devices for its users.

Snapdragon Satellite, which allows the ability to communicate via satellite off-grid areas in case of emergency is functionality that resonates with OEMs and consumers across the board. Illustrating how satellite capabilities can easily serve customers in a variety of everyday situations, Chris shared a story of hiking with his family and needing to send his injured daughter back down the mountain with his wife and not having a way to check on them to make sure they had made it safely down. It’s not a stretch to say that satellite connectivity will be a lifesaver in many emergency situations, and it will also be beneficial in outdoor recreation in remote, rural, and offshore locations and likely as attractive to businesses operating in remote areas as it is with consumers.

Samsung Satellite — Evolving to Meet Consumer Demand

To meet the evolving demands of consumers and businesses, Qualcomm already announced in January its partnership with Iridium at CES 2023 to bring Snapdragon Satellite to Android users. Now, at Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm’s key OEM customers such as OPPO, Motorola, Xiaomi and others are working with the company to develop devices that will leverage Snapdragon Satellite capabilities that will enable global coverage for two-way messaging outdoors for emergencies, SMS texting, and other messaging applications.

Samsung Satellite is supported by Iridium’s satellite constellation, a low-Earth orbiting (LEO) that utilizes weather-resistant L-band spectrum to support low-power, low-latency satellite connections.

The Qualcomm team said that Snapdragon Satellite will be available across all upcoming 5G Modem-RF systems via its Snapdragon Mobile platform tiers from 8-to-4 tier as its ecosystem matures. As mentioned, the market for satellite-based emergency communications is a sought-after feature by consumers and businesses.

Wrapping it up, the smartphone is much more than a simple communication device that people use for social media, watching videos, gaming, and track health. The device has also rapidly become a proverbial Swiss Army Knife that helps us get to safety and security when we need it. The Snapdragon Satellite feature, along with the upcoming 5G Modem-RF, will offer consumers and businesses an additional layer of safety as they traverse in rural or out-of-reach areas which will be great in the future. The quick adoption from Qualcomm’s key smartphone manufacturers is an excellent indication that the functionality will be in high demand.

Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.

Other insights from Futurum Research:

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Qualcomm AI Demonstrates Stable Diffusion on Android Phone

Qualcomm’s X75 and X35 Modem Announcements

About the Authors

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”

Michael Diamond is an industry analyst and foresight professional with 25 years of experience in the IT channel and market research industry. He is a route-to-market expert covering desktop and mobile devices, collaboration, contact center, ProAV, data center infrastructure, and cybersecurity. Prior to joining Futurum Research, Michael worked for The NPD Group as the sole industry analyst covering indirect channels, cybersecurity, SMB and vertical market trends, data center infrastructure (e.g., enterprise storage, servers, networking), ProAV and PCs. He has been quoted by media outlets such as Bloomberg, Kiplinger, TWICE, OPI (Office Products International), Apple World today, Dark Reading, Enterprise Storage Forum, Credit-Suisse, Footwear News, CRN (Computer Reseller News), Channel Futures and Into Tomorrow.  Michael has presented at myriad events including The Channel Company’s Xchange, The Global Technology Distribution Council’s summit, SMB TechFest and more.