Now that two of the most major mobile press events of 2016 are in our rear-view mirror (CES and MWC, that is), we’re turning our thoughts (and ears) to what we predict will happen during the remainder of the year in audio.
1. High-resolution audio
Everyone is familiar with HDTV. Now high-resolution audio (HRA) is picking up the pace. With music publishers and many of the top-ranked streaming services supporting it, and devices from LG, Sony and others already available, 2016 looks to be the year of HRA.
As for consumers on the go, it’s no longer unusual to see people wearing wireless headphones—and they expect the sound quality of that mobile experience to be as excellent as it is at home. In January 2016, we added aptX HD to our product mix: This codec is designed to deliver superior-quality audio over Bluetooth by supporting 24-bit music quality. aptX HD is built on a legacy of use in the professional music sector for “better-than-CD” quality sound.
High-resolution audio is already being brought to the masses by many device manufacturers. For one, LG recently announced that its flagship G5 smartphone and LG TONE Platinum (HBS-1100) headset will feature aptX HD, to offer users the highest-quality listening experience.
2. Whole-home networked audio
Futuresource, a specialist research service provider for the audio industry, has predicted that all home audio devices will be wireless by 2019. And our State of Play Report found that 69 percent of people would listen to music more often if they could control it easily from a central location at home. Products that deliver whole-home networked audio have been around for a while, but in 2016, new interoperable solutions are expected to be available. They’ll give users the ability to network any speaker, regardless of manufacturer, and connect them over both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth channels.
And when it comes to interconnectivity, we’re leading the way with AllPlay—our open, interoperable wireless networking platform. With AllPlay, songs can be streamed from a range of music services or media players on a user’s iOS or Android device and connect to any AllPlay-compatible speaker. The same music can play in each room for a party, or it can vary from room to room if, say, the kids want to listen to Justin Bieber—again.
3. End-to-end audio solutions for phones, soundbars, speakers, or headphones, and the home
We listen to audio these days through multiple connected devices, but delivering a seamless user experience across every component in the mix can present challenges. From the smart phone to the speaker, sub-woofer, or soundbar, to the realm of whole-home networked audio, we’ll see the rise of a more integrated audio chain in 2016.
With technology that enhances every link in that chain, Qualcomm Technologies is addressing these challenges. Our mobile processors (including the premium Qualcomm Snapdragon 820) are engineered to provide best-in-class user experience on mobile phones. Our audio codecs, including aptX, are designed to deliver superior quality sound over Bluetooth. And with our AllPlay networked audio platform, people can stream their music to any room in their house.
We’re forecasting that in 2016 and beyond, music fans will be able to enjoy their music seamlessly from any source, at the highest possible quality, on any device—virtually anywhere.