OnQ Blog

Thanks to aptX, your car’s sound system is getting an upgrade

Jun 27, 2016

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

From L.A. to D.C., commuters are increasingly spending more time in their cars. In fact, the average American spends about 42 hours a year stuck in rush-hour traffic. And it’s not different across the pond. In London, commuters reportedly average a staggering 101 hours a year trapped in gridlock. How do they pass the time? For most people, one of the keys to not losing their minds is blasting their favorite tunes on the road.

And that’s where Qualcomm aptX comes in. Found in everything from wireless headphones to smarthome speakers, aptX is a codec that supports CD-like quality while streaming hi-fi audio over Bluetooth from their smart devices.

What does Bluetooth have to do with your car? Just as cassette decks gave way to CD players and then to USB ports, today’s connected cars are turning to Bluetooth for their infotainment systems, freeing phones and music players from messy USB cords. And as our cars get smarter, we’ll all expect our audio to sound even better.

To make the audio sound as good as we need it too, automakers spend a significant time shaping the internal acoustics of cars—everything from the car’s directional shaping, the quality of audio amps, cabinet noise isolation, and the number and position of speakers in the car. Given how much time we spend in our cars, this means, more than ever, a high-quality Bluetooth codec is vital to ensuring that we enjoy the benefits of wireless connectivity, without letting our car’s acoustics go to waste.

There was a time when using Bluetooth in a car meant a tradeoff in audio quality—you just couldn’t get that crystal, clear sound. That’s because Bluetooth works like a pipeline with a maximum width, meaning it’s not always suited for streaming high-quality audio files. But aptX works around Bluetooth’s limited bandwidth by reducing the size of large audio files, meaning you get superior sound quality when compared to other audio codecs like SBC and AAC, among others.

The reduced bitrate also translates to lower and more stable latency when syncing audio-visual files. And the addition of Qualcomm aptX HD, which supports 24-bit resolutions, is engineered to provide even better signal-to-noise ratio (the strength of a signal relative to background noise) and more stable, consistent audio streaming to deliver sound quality that is indistinguishable from Hi Res.

What does that mean for automakers? With over 2 billion aptX devices available, the auto industry’s embrace of the aptX brand eliminates the need for OEMs to create their own custom Bluetooth audio solutions. And as an added bonus, the wide range of aptX enabled products and Qualcomm Technologies’ certified IOP testing means consumers won’t have to worry if their devices are compatible.

So queue up your favorite playlist, hit the road, and leave the music to aptX.

Qualcomm aptX is a product of Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd.

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