OnQ Blog

3 minutes on what’s new with Bluetooth wireless

How Qualcomm aptX HD audio technology is behind the growth of high resolution Bluetooth wireless

Oct 4, 2017

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

There has been tremendous growth in the Bluetooth wireless world over the last two years. Our Director of Product Marketing for Qualcomm aptX, Jonny McClintock, has been on the cutting edge of audio tech for nearly 25 years, and sat down with us to tell us about the latest trends.

What’s the most newsworthy thing on your radar right now?

Probably the news from Google, who just announced support for Qualcomm aptX and aptX HD on their Pixel and Pixel XL.

This is great news for consumers who will get to experience improved sound quality when using Bluetooth with aptX on this high profile new handset. It’s also great news for us because another “source” device has joined the aptX HD commercial ecosystem. Other recently launched smartphones include the LG V30, the Sony Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact.

So why is now such an exciting time for aptX HD and high resolution wireless audio?

There’s been growing awareness and interest in high resolution audio among consumers, who are also now increasingly opting for wireless connectivity for their personal audio devices. That’s where aptX HD comes in, and many manufacturers are choosing aptX to meet this end-user demand for high res wireless audio.

Another catalyst to the growth of the aptX HD ecosystem is support for aptX HD in the Android O operating system. That’s going to mean that millions more end-users will be able to benefit from a superior Bluetooth listening experience.

What about non-smartphone devices, like headphones and speakers — are they also capable of supporting high resolution sound?

Absolutely. There’s now a growing range of wireless headphones, speakers, and receivers that deliver high-res wireless audio with aptX HD. The high-end brand Beyerdynamic recently launched their Aventho Wireless headphones. Sony also came out with the 1000XM2 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones, the ultra-sophisticated nuraphone was released, and Bowers and Wilkins, known for their high-performance audio products, launched PX, their next generation headphones which connect wirelessly. In fact, there are now more than 40 commercially available devices available with support for aptX HD.

Last question, Jonny: There’s been quite a bit of industry news and momentum around aptX HD since it launched — could you explain what it is for those who don’t already know?

Yes, aptX HD is an audio codec that allows a Bluetooth wireless connection to deliver 24-bit sound quality. It’s unique because it supports a greater dynamic range than other codecs. We’ve also engineered aptX HD to improve the signal-to-noise ratio, resulting in lower background noise. This means listeners can hear even the smallest details in their music.

Qualcomm aptX and Qualcomm aptX HD are products of Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

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