Qualcomm Announces New Low-Power Bluetooth SoCs and Audio Technologies for True Wireless Earphones

A couple of years after its last major launch for the true wireless earphones segment, Qualcomm has launched new chipsets and audio technologies that will be implemented in true wireless earphones launched in the coming months and years. The American chipset maker has launched the QCC514X and QCC304X series of chipsets, along with two new audio technologies that will be supported on the chipsets. While the QCC514X chipsets will power premium-tier products, the QCC304X series SoCs will be for affordable and mid-range true wireless earphones.

The new chipsets are the successors to the QCC5100 and QCC30XX chipsets, which have been around for a few years now. The chipsets will support new technologies for true wireless earphones developed by Qualcomm, including TrueWireless Mirroring and Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation, both of which are being implemented at the hardware level in the chipsets themselves.

TrueWireless Mirroring is said to allow the primary connection with the source device to switch seamlessly between either of the two earphones. This is useful as it will allow either earphone to be used alone without interruptions, as well as allow the earphones with the stronger connection to be set as the primary headset.

Most true wireless earphones today have a fixed ‘master’ earphone, which maintains the connection with the smartphone, tablet, or computer, with the exception of a few options such as the Apple AirPods Pro that use proprietary versions of similar technology. Qualcomm’s chipset-level implementation of this technology means that many true wireless earphone makers will get access to this kind of tech.

Also supported on some of the new Qualcomm chipsets is Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation technology, and always-on voice assistant activation. Apart from a better listening experience thanks to noise cancellation and more natural hear-through or transparency functions, users will also be able to summon the voice assistant without having to press any buttons; simply speaking the wake word in range of the headset will invoke the assistant.

The new chipsets from Qualcomm also promise better battery life due to power usage optimisations, with the company claiming that users could get up to 13 hours of usage from the earbuds depending on usage conditions. This would mean that the charging case itself could shrink to a more pocketable size without needing to offer as many recharges to the earphones, as we recently saw on the Samsung Galaxy Buds+.

True wireless earphones with these new chipsets will also likely support existing Qualcomm technologies, such as cVc environmental noise cancellation, as well as support for the company’s aptX series of Bluetooth codecs. Assuming the Coronavirus pandemic doesn’t wreak too much havoc, we could see the first true wireless earphones with these chipsets launched in the coming months.

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