OnQ Blog

Low Power Bluetooth SoCs will help to redefine the future of hearables

Jan 9, 2018

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

There are major shifts in the audio industry right now. The way we listen to, interact with, and connect to our headsets is changing. Consumers want many different functions from their headsets, and the ability to listen to quality audio anywhere at any time, whether it’s at home, in the office, in the gym, or when out and about. This is driving demand for smaller, lighter form factors that include features such as biometric sensors, voice interaction, voice assistant services, and high-quality music streaming all combined into ultra-low power devices that don’t require constant recharging.

Pioneering the development of truly wireless applications

Our Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo was designed to stream sound wirelessly to earbuds in each ear separately and this has stimulated a massive consumer interest in truly wireless in-ear devices for listening to music, having calls, and other activities. Our Bluetooth audio SoCs are industry proven over 15 years and the innovation, performance, and flexibility of those earlier platforms has helped to impact the success of many of the most iconic headsets and hearables from leading consumer electronics brands.

Our heritage in Bluetooth connectivity, RF, audio quality, and power consumption mean that we are uniquely positioned to help address the development challenges that our customers are facing when developing next generation hearable devices.

Introducing QCC5100 series Low-Power Bluetooth audio SoCs

At CES this week we announced the QCC5100 series, a family of breakthrough Bluetooth Audio SoCs based on an ultra-low power architecture which are optimized for use in compact, feature- rich wireless earbuds, hearables, and headphones. One of the greatest challenges facing developers of these small form-factor in-ear devices is power consumption. The QCC5100 series architecture has been designed to deliver ultra-low power performance for best in class power consumption during real world use cases, not only helping to reduce power consumption by up to 65 percent for functions such as voice calls and music streaming compared to prior solutions, but with the processing capability to help our customers to build exciting new feature-rich devices opening up new possibilities for in-ear use such as virtual assistants, training and more.

Feature-rich hearables

Designed to meet consumer demand for robust, high quality, truly wireless listening experiences, key features of the QCC5100 series include:

  • Quad core processing: The QCC5100 series is engineered to offer developers the freedom and flexibility to innovate, with a dedicated application processor sub-system, dual DSP architecture, next generation ADK software and enhanced development tools enabling them to deliver unique low power, feature-rich user experiences. The series also supports multiple use cases with concurrent software operation, so the user can transition smoothly listening to music, making calls, running biometric sensors, using ANC, voice assistant services, etc.
  • Integrated hybrid ANC: Integrated hybrid active noise cancelling (ANC) technology integrated in the SoC helps to reduce the complexity, cost, and PCB space of adding ANC to earbuds, hearables, and other portable audio devices by eliminating the need for a separate ANC chip. Combined with comprehensive ANC tuning tools, we are helping manufacturers to quickly deliver premium audio experiences in much smaller form factor designs.
  • High quality wireless audio: Support for Qualcomm aptX and aptX HD audio technologies helps to deliver for consistent, high-quality audio streaming over Bluetooth. The internal 24-bit end-to-end audio pipeline and high-performance DACs enable high resolution audio to be delivered right through the audio processing chain.
  • Digital assistant ready with support for Always On voice: Consumers now want to be educated, entertained, informed, or take control of their devices and surroundings simply by asking a question or giving a command. The QCC5100 series offers dedicated support for Always On voice applications, which can help accelerate commercialization of voice-activated products by combining local voice recognition algorithms running on the Bluetooth audio platform with cloud services running on a mobile application
Qualcomm TrueWireless and QCC5100 are products of Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd.

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Anthony Murray

Senior Vice President and General Manager, Voice and Music, IoT