Mar 25, 2020
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
Take a look around on your morning commute or the next time you’re at the gym. You’ll probably notice more people than ever with wireless earbuds nestled in their ears, enjoying their favorite music or listening to the latest podcast. Since the first truly wireless earbuds were launched around six years ago, there has been substantial growth in this category – with busy lifestyles driving demand for total wireless freedom, portability, and extended battery life. Our audio inventions have already helped our customers deliver major breakthroughs in the truly wireless earbud category, with the latest generation based on the Qualcomm QCC5100 and Qualcomm QCC302x series. Our Bluetooth audio SoCs are designed to help consumers enjoy prolonged use of their devices for voice calls and music streaming.
Today, our audio and connectivity experts are focused on developing technologies that will help create immersive user experiences using truly wireless earbuds. Our recently announced Bluetooth audio SoCs – the entry-level flash programmable Qualcomm QCC304x and premium tier Qualcomm QCC514x – are designed to elevate the truly wireless consumer experience by supporting more robust and superior connectivity, prolonged use, integrated active noise cancellation (ANC), voice assistant support, and premium wireless audio quality. Our solutions feature exciting new technology innovations, including:
Truly wireless earbuds are completely wire-free, allowing the freedom to use them as a stereo pair or as a mono device, using either the left or right bud. Because only one bud at a time can be wirelessly connected to the phone, Qualcomm TrueWireless Mirroring technology is designed to easily swap between which earbud is connected to the phone, while the other earbud mirrors the connection. For example, if the user removes the connected bud from their ear, the bud that was mirroring the connection takes over so as not to interrupt an active voice call or music stream. Another reason a role swap may occur is if the RF connectivity for the mirroring bud is detected to be stronger than the connected bud, perhaps due to the proximity of the user’s mobile phone. In that case, the connection is designed to seamlessly swap from one ear bud to the other. This supports a superior experience with no audio dropouts – without the user being aware that the swap took place.
The Qualcomm State of Play 2019 Report, our fourth annual consumer audio study, has shown that over 63 percent of consumers surveyed desire active noise cancellation (ANC) in their wireless headphones and earbuds. ANC technology helps reduce unwanted background noise, allowing users to enjoy a more immersive listening experience – and hear the music as the artist intended. Once reserved for high-end stereo headphones, consumers are now actively seeking this feature in truly wireless earbuds at all price points. This is because, in large part, devices are being used every day and ‘on-the-go’ in noisy environments like public transport, the gym, and even at work in open plan offices. When needed, users can simply switch ANC on and drown out unwanted chatter and noise as they catch-up on the latest podcast, a binge-worthy boxset, or to simply create a quiet bubble within which to concentrate on their work.
While it’s great to be able to shut out unwanted outside background noise, there are situations when it’s important to be able to hear what’s going on around you. For example, if you’re listening to music while out on your morning run, it’s important to hear oncoming traffic so you can stay safe. If you’re in the office, you need to be able to hear a colleague call your name or ask a question. And if you’re grabbing a morning coffee, you want to hear the barista tell you it’s ready.
The new Qualcomm QCC514x and Qualcomm QCC304x SoCs integrate our breakthrough ANC technology with a highly natural leak-through capability. This technology is designed to use microphones on the outside of the earbud to leak-through certain sounds from the outside world at a very low-latency, so you hear what’s going on around you in real-time for a natural experience.
Imagine you are rushing to catch a train to work. You’re worried you might miss it and your phone is in your pocket. Instead of fumbling in your bag or coat to retrieve your phone and check the timetable, you can simply ask the voice assistant that has been nestled in your ear playing the latest podcast and it connects to your cloud service of choice. If you don’t already have the buds in your ears you can simply pop one or both in and use a quick voice command to get the information you need. The QCC514x and QCC304x are designed to support this type of use case with integrated support for multiple voice ecosystems.