Qualcomm, the Android phone maker, is developing a satellite messaging feature

Qualcomm, the Android phone maker, is developing a satellite messaging feature

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – Qualcomm Inc said on Monday it is working with a group of Android smartphone companies to add satellite-based messaging capabilities to their devices.

The San Diego, California-based company, which is the world’s largest supplier of chips that connect mobile phones to wireless data networks, said it is working with Honor, Lenovo-owned Motorola, Nothing, OPPO, Vivo and Xiaomi Corp to develop the devices. .

Satellite-based communications can send and receive data in remote or rural areas where other telecommunications networks are not available. Qualcomm announced that it was adding capabilities to its chips earlier this year.

Qualcomm’s work with Android device makers could intensify competition between those brands and Apple Inc., which last year unveiled the ability to send emergency satellite messages as one of the key features of its new iPhone lineup. These new iPhones have a chip from Qualcomm, although Apple told Reuters they include custom hardware and software that is proprietary to Apple.

Qualcomm did not say on Monday when the new satellite messaging features will be available for Android smartphone brands. Earlier this year, Qualcomm said that some Android phones would have the feature by the second half of this year.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Schumacher)

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