"For the first time, satellite communications can achieve economies of scale traditionally enjoyed in the cellular marketplace today," said Alex Good, CEO and president of SkyTerra, in a statement. "Combined with our powerful next-generation satellites, Qualcomm's technology will enable mobile communications between terrestrial and satellite network layers using ordinary mobile devices."
Satellite phones have been critical in emergency situations like Hurricane Gustav and Ike, but costs and network handoff limitations have severely limited the availability of affordable handsets that can move between satellite and cellular networks.
Under the agreement, Qualcomm will develop a satellite protocol for these chipsets and combine it with the company's expertise with CDMA technology. The company's size and scale should enable a wider market to have access to satellite connectivity, and it should drive down costs for hardware manufacturers.
"The integrated satellite-terrestrial market presents an exciting opportunity with more than 100 MHz of spectrum potentially addressable on a global basis," said Good. "We anticipate that additional operators will take advantage of satellite data optimized technology as the systems evolve."
Additionally, Qualcomm said these new chips will support the L- and S-band frequencies. The move also potentially paves the way for cheaper, more accessible satellite broadband access.
Server Market SplitsvilleJust because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.