Nov 6, 2020
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
Our State of Play Report 2020 showed that 73 percent of those surveyed are now interested in complete freedom from wires, and adoption of truly wireless earbuds has almost doubled from 23 percent to 42 percent year on year. While sound quality is still the number one purchase driver, our data shows that consumers also demand more richly featured devices that offer seamless user experiences, are comfortable to wear, and have extended battery life.
To help manufacturers quickly and cost-effectively take advantage of this rapidly growing market opportunity, we recently launched a reference design platform for occluded true wireless earbuds. Based on the flagship QCC5141 Bluetooth Audio SoC, it brings together everything our customers need — including earbud form factor hardware, comprehensive software solutions, and tuning tools — to develop next-generation true wireless devices and transform the way users connect, communicate, and engage with personal audio.
Designed to support seamless user experiences
True wireless earbuds are being used more often, for longer periods of time, and for a wider range of applications, including music listening, voice calls, and mobile gaming. As consumers become more familiar and reliant on true wireless earbuds, expectations around ease of use and overall user experience are rising. Our State of Play research showed that many users are expressing an increasing interest in improved interoperability between wireless earbuds and their smartphone, with 35 percent of respondents rating their interest as “high” or “extreme.” Another feature they really care about when using wireless audio devices is the robustness of the Bluetooth connection. In fact, nearly a quarter of those surveyed said that audio glitching or dropouts would be a purchase barrier.
The earbud reference design supports our latest Qualcomm TrueWireless Mirroring technology to help deliver a more seamless user experience and better overall connectivity to both earbuds. This means that when one earbud is connected to the phone via Bluetooth, the other bud mirrors the connection and can role swap when needed. For example, if the user removes the connected bud, the mirroring bud is designed to take over the connection to avoid any interruption of streaming music or an active voice call — with no action required by the user. Qualcomm TrueWireless Mirroring is also engineered to manage a single Bluetooth address, so only one device shows up when the user pairs their earbuds to a phone.
Integrated Active Noise Cancellation for immersive listening
The earbud reference design includes support for hybrid Qualcomm Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology, a feature for which over 71 percent of consumers surveyed stated interest. The dedicated ANC hardware is integrated onto the SoC and supports super-low latency leak-through of the outside environment, which allows the user to be aware of their surroundings in a natural way. For example, if you’re listening to music while out on a morning run, it’s important to hear oncoming traffic so you can stay safe; or, if you’re in the office, you need to be able to hear a colleague call your name or ask a question.
HD music listening and crystal-clear voice calls
While our research shows that users are demanding much more from their true wireless devices in terms of functionality and experiences, one thing remains unchanged — sound quality is the number one purchase driver. To help manufacturers meet exacting expectations for both high quality music listening and crystal-clear voice call quality, the earbud reference design supports Qualcomm aptX Adaptive audio technology and Qualcomm cVc echo cancellation and noise reduction technology.
A flexible platform for innovation
The earbud reference design is based on our breakthrough QCC5141 Bluetooth SoC, which is optimized for true wireless earbuds and hearables, and designed to elevate the true wireless listening experience. With powerful quad-core processing capability, the QCC5141 offers our customers total freedom and flexibility to innovate with a dedicated application processor sub-system, dual DSP architecture, next generation Audio Development Kit (ADK) software, enhanced development tools, and the ability to add their own or third-party software features to create next-generation earbud experiences.
The QCC5141 Occluded Earbud Reference Design is available now.