Qualcomm, mobile chip manufacturer, has announced the release of its latest chips for earbuds which are speculated to change the wireless headphones industry. The new Bluetooth chipsets bundle, Qualcomm’s flagship QCC514x and middle range QCC304x, are designed to deliver high performance and attractive features like active noise cancellation, low power requirement, ability to switch between one or both earbuds and voice assistant support. When used in a product, these chips are predicted to give a healthy competition to existing earbuds like Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus, Sony’s WF-1000XM3 and Jabra Elite 75t.
Qualcomm’s Vice President and General Manager of music, voice and wearable, James Chapman, is confident it his new chips will resolve connectivity and battery issues and will deliver performance with smart features which all the existing variants lack. These claims sound attractive to us, as AirPods users, connectivity issues are frequent and frustrating, and battery life of first generation AirPods degenerates with time.
Frankly a lot of products that were on the market delivered experiences to consumers that may have exhibited some patchy connectivity problems, or perhaps battery life wasn’t what it should’ve been, or needed to be.
Qualcomm further explains that the chipsets will help in development of next generation earbuds which will be designed to wear a day or longer durations with ANC, support aptX Adaptive audio, deliver wireless mirroring to make it easy to switch between ear buds without interrupting audio, and access AI assistants through voice commands to set appointments, get reminders, and even dictate text messages.
Active noise cancellation will be a big selling factor, if the company delivers what it is claiming. ANC on most existing earbuds is nowhere near perfect.
Having said that, there is no indication of what the price point of the products with Qualcomm’s chips will be as both variants offer different features. QCC514x supports voice activation of AIS assistant, and programmable dual DSPs. On the other hand, QCC304x will be suitable for low to middle range earbuds.
Qualcomm has scheduled shipment of the new chips to manufacturers in April this year. However, keeping in mind the current closure of industries due to COVID-19 pandemic, it might be pushed ahead.