Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Satellite technology for smartphones allows users to point their phones at a sky to send and receive messages even when they’re off-grid and unable to connect to terrestrial cellular networks.

The chip maker introduced Snapdragon Satellite in January. Now the company says the first phones with support for the feature are on the way.

Qualcomm says the first phone makers to incorporate Snapdragon Satellite capabilities into their handsets include Honor, Motorola, Nothing, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi.

Customers will be able to use their phones to connect to Iridium’s satellite network to send and receive emergency messages and use SMS or other supported text messaging services from almost anywhere on the planet.

There are a few things to keep in mind. First, the service requires a direct line of sight to a satellite – you’ll need to be outdoors and able to point your phone at the open sky and wait a few seconds for it to connect to the network to send and receive messages.

You’ll also most likely need to pay a subscription fee to actually use the satellite service, but it’s likely that fees will vary depending on the phone and service plan.

Qualcomm says it plans to make Snapdragon Satellite available “across all upcoming 5G Modem-RF systems and Snapdragon Mobile Platform tiers,” which basically means that this isn’t a feature that will be limited to flagship phones with Snapdragon 8 series processors. It should also arrive in upcoming budget and mid-range devices with Snapdragon 4, 6, and 7 series chips.

press release

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